Black Tree Snake not a Boomslang!

Snakes exotic to South Africa with venoms that are considered to be medically important.

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Black Tree Snake not a Boomslang!

Postby Warren Klein » Sun Jun 07, 2009 10:54 am

Hi All, I thought I'd share some pics of a Thrasops jacksoni I caught a few weeks ago in the mountain forests of Uige province in Angola. Except for the coloration this species is very similar in appearance and behavior to a Boomslang (Dispholidus typus). This male Black Beauty had a SVL of 132cm and TL of 184cm; he was also covered in many ticks which I removed for him!
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Not a good picture but you can see how they inflate their throat just like a Boomslang!
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The back fangs of this species are much shorter than that of a Boomslang
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To give you an idea of the size this species can attain (184cm).
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Some habitat shots in the mountain forests in Uige
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Saying good bye before his release.
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An inaccurate naturalist is a pest and a danger, forever perpetuating illogical deductions and landing later naturalists in trouble. Damm and blast them all to hell in the most painful way. C.J.P. Ionides
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Re: Black Tree Snake not a Boomslang!

Postby gaboon69 » Sun Jun 07, 2009 11:01 am

Somebody is living the dream....Awesome awesome awesome.
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Re: Black Tree Snake not a Boomslang!

Postby Warren Klein » Sun Jun 07, 2009 11:06 am

What can I say, for better or for worse ;)
An inaccurate naturalist is a pest and a danger, forever perpetuating illogical deductions and landing later naturalists in trouble. Damm and blast them all to hell in the most painful way. C.J.P. Ionides
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Re: Black Tree Snake not a Boomslang!

Postby 10gbooj » Sun Jun 07, 2009 11:47 am

Gaboon69, you said it.
Thanks for sharing.
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Re: Black Tree Snake not a Boomslang!

Postby Ralf » Sun Jun 07, 2009 12:43 pm

Incredible!
how was it's temper?
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Re: Black Tree Snake not a Boomslang!

Postby Pythonodipsas » Sun Jun 07, 2009 12:48 pm

Nice one Warren! Thrasops has always been an interesting species for me.

Didn't you also say you've collected black phase boomslang in Angola?
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Re: Black Tree Snake not a Boomslang!

Postby Warren Klein » Sun Jun 07, 2009 3:21 pm

Apparently not, but this is the first Thrasops which I found.
An inaccurate naturalist is a pest and a danger, forever perpetuating illogical deductions and landing later naturalists in trouble. Damm and blast them all to hell in the most painful way. C.J.P. Ionides
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Re: Black Tree Snake not a Boomslang!

Postby Quintin » Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:33 am

Cool pics, and great snake... I wish i could have gone herping when i was in Angola. Was mainly in Luanda, and was too busy with work deadlines.

Aren't there area's with land mines still? Or are they more towards the south of Angola? My main fear wouldn't be snake bite in the Angolan forest but rather loosing a leg to a land mine. lol

On another note: Is that wild wacky tobaccy growing in the second last pic? lol

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Re: Black Tree Snake not a Boomslang!

Postby Rob » Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:44 am

Excrement!! Nice stuff HH.
Anyone know if babies look the same as adults?
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Re: Black Tree Snake not a Boomslang!

Postby Buck Rogers » Mon Jun 08, 2009 1:02 pm

Looks like a rhinkals with its mouth open like that. Does it have the same venom as a boomslang?
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Re: Black Tree Snake not a Boomslang!

Postby Warren Klein » Mon Jun 08, 2009 3:15 pm

Quintin: Are there still mines in Angola is a bit of an understatement! Every province in this country has been mined; clearance is ongoing and will be for many years to come. The UN estimated their are approximately 600 land mines per each Angolan but some believe this to be an over exaggeration. What we should remember is that during the civil war, most of all counties jumped on the band wagon and weather directly or in directly those mines found their way into Angolan soil, not to mention the trip wires, booby traps and UXOs! But you are right in saying that the South is heavily mined namely Namibe, Cunene and Cauandocubango! I have learned to go against my instinct of just running blindly into the bush chasing after a new species of snake and have had to let many escape when they went into unsafe areas; hence I still have both my legs! Oh and don't get too excited for the wacky tobaccy, if you look closely you will see it's actually Mandioca plants which the root is harvested as the staple food here called Funge. It is something like pap but much more sticky, you can lay bricks with the stuff and takes some getting used to.

Rob: I'm not to sure if the babies would be uniform black like the adults, I have seen a pic on the net which suggests other wise but their is also a SA reptiles member "Contorix" who’s pair had mated, I wonder if he was successful and got any young from that mating?

BR: Ja, a large eyed tree rinkals! From what I have read about this species the venom has been compared to that of the Boom slang!
An inaccurate naturalist is a pest and a danger, forever perpetuating illogical deductions and landing later naturalists in trouble. Damm and blast them all to hell in the most painful way. C.J.P. Ionides
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Re: Black Tree Snake not a Boomslang!

Postby Quintin » Mon Jun 08, 2009 3:31 pm

Haha.. thanks for the info HH!

I remember seeing plenty of locals in Luanda in wheel chairs, begging for money as they cant do any proper work. I have tons of pics of the buildings that are shot to pieces! Listening to some of the guys i worked with up there, of the bone chilling stories of the atrocities of war they witnessed in front of their own houses at times was also something else.

I have some fond memories. Really wish i could go herping and fishing there though!

Keep the pics coming and be safe!

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Re: Black Tree Snake not a Boomslang!

Postby armata » Mon Jun 08, 2009 4:47 pm

I caught a few of these in W.Kenya around Kisumu and Kakamega. The first one I caught was a juvenile and I did not know what the hell it was. I took it back to Nairobi and Alec Duff-Mckay confirmed it was a juvenile Thrasops. Its was greenish yellow with black tips to the body scales and measured just under 50cm. They retain juv colouration until half grown and have the diagnostic black eye (Boomslang has brown) from birth. I caught a few adults one was 180cm and aggressive. In those days didn't really think about the bite; it did not bite me though. Very impressive snakes. Interestingly in Spawls & Branch, Dangerous Snakes, Thrasops is not included but blandings tree snake is.
Any recent info on Thrasops venom?
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Re: Black Tree Snake not a Boomslang!

Postby Warren Klein » Mon Jun 08, 2009 5:53 pm

Interesting they are found in Kenya as well! When the snake first shot out in front of me, I thought it was a very skinny shiney Black spitter! Then when I got hold of it I though it could be a black tree cobra or black phase Boomslang hence the title of my post :-? . I had to open the mouth to see where its fangs were located or if it had fangs at all! I was still not convinced it was a Boomslang because of the back fangs being so much shorter then Dispholidus! Didn’t think too much about the eye color at the time because the snake it self was so pitch black! So I took my pics, measurements and scale clipping then sent the suspicious black snake back into the bush! I still told pythonodipsas that I had found a black Boomslang up here. I did my research once I returned to the office and discovered it to be a Thrasops! While handling the snake for photos etc. I found it to behave just like a Boomslang, very agile and just keen on getting away! It did inflate the throat and struck out a few times while holding the snake in a tree by the tale with one hand and and my camera in the other, but this can be expected and I would not call it aggressive. It is always a very exciting feeling to find a new species of herp and learn more about it!

On that note, if anyone has an old copy of Spawls & Branch Dangerous Snakes, I would pay a more than a fair price for it as it is one of the few reference books which I could use for Angola! Please keep eyes open and send me a PM if anyone wants to part with their copy, not that it would of helped me for the Thrasops thou!
An inaccurate naturalist is a pest and a danger, forever perpetuating illogical deductions and landing later naturalists in trouble. Damm and blast them all to hell in the most painful way. C.J.P. Ionides
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Re: Black Tree Snake not a Boomslang!

Postby s'mee » Mon Jun 08, 2009 6:27 pm

Rob wrote:Excrement!! Nice stuff HH.
Anyone know if babies look the same as adults?


No, they don't.... ;)

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