Category Archives: 4. Colubridae – TYPICAL SNAKES

32 SNAKES RELEASED

On Friday 14th December we packed the baby snakes born this month at the snake farm, not for export to some unknown owner in Germany or New York, but for release into the best place for them, the African bush.

School holidays are here and it is time to give our children some of our time. We decided to take them to Kulalu, a camp on the Galana River that is in the ADC ranch buffer zone near Tsavo East National Park. The place is heaven on earth for anyone who relishes true wilderness in Africa. We take our Kenya Snake Safari clients there because it also has great catch and release snake areas and so felt our own children should get a chance to see and enjoy such wild and beautiful places as our clients do.

We took 20 baby East African Egg Eating Snakes Dasypeltis medici from two separate hatchings (12 and 8 ) and 11 hatchling Eastern Tiger Snakes Telescopus semiannulatus. We also took a rehabilitated Speckled Sand Snake Psammophis punctulatus that had been injured by a human that tried to kill it for the simple reason that it was a snake. The snake was much better now and ready for release.

Photos by Royjan Taylor
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All snakes were photographed on the 14th of December at Bio-Ken Snake Farm in Watamu when packed for the trip and released on the 15th December near Kulalu Camp, on the ADC – Kulalu Ranch, Tsavo by my children Eric and Joey Taylor and their friends Kyla and Kassi Conway, children of our friends and managers of Kulalu Camp, Nick and Gail Conway.

Photos by Clare Taylor

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It was great to see the children relishing in the idea of releasing baby snakes into the wild and a great opportunity to teach the next generation about the importance of conserving all wildlife even the snakes.

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On the last day I caught a Speckled Bush Snake Philothamnus punctatus for them to hold and release.

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A great trip and a well earned break for all of us. Back to Watamu today and I can’t wait to hear the latest news of snakes at the Snake Farm. Bonface the Foreman confirmed by phone that all is good.


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BABY TIGER SNAKES IN MERU

Last night a guest at Elsa’s Kopje in Meru spotted this little Black Tiger Snake Telescopus dhara on a handrail at the lodge. Anton was called to identify it and put it in a snake bag until the following morning so as to get a photograph in better light. The snake was photographed this morning and released safely back into the bush.

You will notice the the snake in first picture below is orange. This is the snake described above. The snake second picture is black in colour and is also a Black Tiger Snake, but is an adult specimen photographed at Bio-Ken earlier this year. They are one of the few snake species we have in East Africa, that the juveniles differ in colour to that of the adults, so much so, that one would very easily think they are different species. The Black Tiger Snake is also known as the Large Eyed Snake.

To compound this the Eastern Tiger Snake Telescopus semiannulatus, a related species, is black and orange in colour, hence the common name. These retain their colour through to adult hood although along the North coast of Kenya the adults have slightly faded black bands. I should point out that our Tiger Snakes should not be confused with the Australian Tiger Snakes which are very poisonous Elapids. Our Tiger Snakes although venomous, are so mildly so, that even a bite from one produces no medical consequences whatsoever. We therefore treat them as harmless. The third photo below is a juvenile Eastern Tiger Snake.

Photo by Anthony Childs


Photo by Mike Dobiey

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Photo by Anthony Childs

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Katherin’s Sand Snake in Tsavo

This is actually a comment just in in from one of our Blog readers.

Couple of months ago, saw a vehicle in Tsavo E, NP run over a Sand Snake…I got out of my vehicle and tail caught the snake which was heading into the brush. Its skin was torn but I don’t think the ribs were broken. Otherwise, it was very lively and strong, about a metre long. Besides the dark speckles, it had an orange head and black and yellow stripes…so I figured it was a Speckled Sand Snake? Hope it was able to heal itself from this rude encounter with the Land Rover.

KatherineHerzog

Thank you Katherine! Good to hear that there are others out there willing to help save snakes. Yes the Speckled Sand Snake Psammophis punctulatus is probably the most common sand snake found in Tsavo East. The ones there belong to the southern race Psammophis punctulatus trivigatus and differ from the nominate race, found in from the horn of Africa through to the Sudan, in having the extra yellow stripes along the back. Below is a photo of one we caught on one of our Catch and Release Snake Safari’s with clients in Watamu earlier this year.

Photos by Royjan Taylor

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STRIPE BELLIED SAND SNAKE RELEASED

This morning an Eastern Stripe Bellied Sand Snake Psammophis orientalis was brought in to the Snake Farm by one of the villagers from Jimba, an area on the way to Gede, about 5 km West of Bio-Ken. It had been caught in a village house where it had gone to sleep for the night. The Stripe Bellied Sand Snakes in the Watamu – Malindi area belong to the Eastern group and differ from the ones found in the Northern part of Kenya and especially the Rift Valley. These are known as the Northern Stripe Bellied Sand Snake Psammophis sudanensis and you can tell them apart by the fact that P. orientalis has no white marks while P. sudanensis has several. The ESB Sand Snake is probably the third most common snake in our immediate area. The Snake was released into the wild in the bush behind Bio-Ken today.

Photo by Anthony Childs (Reference)

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BLUE BUSH SNAKE RELEASED

It must be Bush Snake season in Watamu at the moment, for yet again we saved another one today. Late this morning Ferry and Walter Scherer from St. Lawrence University (USA), who is doing the Bio-Ken experience at the Snake Farm at the moment , took a snake call from quite near the snake farm. It turned out to be a very nice, blue colour phase of the Speckled Bush Snake Philothamnus punctatus. These snakes really have to be seen with your own eyes to believe how blue they really are. One of my favourites, I’m glad that we are still finding the odd blue one in Watamu.

The Snake was taken back to the Bio-Ken where it was inspected and found to be in a good condition. Joseph our senior guide recorded its location and released it into the bush at the back of the Snake Farm.

Photos by Royjan Taylor
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BOUGHT A BUSH SNAKE ITS FREEDOM

Just a short one. The builders on a building site at plot 40c Watamu, had cornered a young Speckled Bush Snake Philothamnus punctatus on the veranda of the main house. Refusing to listen to me about the fact that it was not poisonous and so should be left alone, I decided to offer some money for it instead. Ksh 100/= about one and a half US dollars is what we agreed, so I handed the workmen the cash and took the snake home where I took this one picture and then released him in the garden.

Lucky for the snake that I was there.

Photo by Royjan Taylor

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YES! TWO BUSH SNAKES FOR THE ONE WE LOST

This afternoon we collected two Speckled Bush Snakes Philothamnus punctatus from the Jimba area west of Bio-Ken. One normal, i.e. green in colour the second blue, a rare colour phase which is actually reasonably common in the Watamu area. The snakes were collected from two separate villages, both in good condition and were both released at the Snake farm about an hour latter. After the sad story of the one killed earlier in the day, it feels great to have been able to save two of the same species, in the same area, in the same day. Photos were not taken so we have posted two from our library for reference. Photos – Green by Sienna Burns, Blue by Dannie Throne

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SPECKLED BUSH SNAKE KILLED

Being seen driving ‘Olive’ our old Bio-Ken Snake Farm land-rover a group of building site workers pulled me over to say very proudly that they had just killed a very dangerous Green Mamba Dendroaspis angusticeps that tried to attack them while they were eating breakfast in a road side kiosk. On inspecting the snake I found that they had killed a juvenile Speckled Bush Snake Philothamnus punctatus, a non venomous species that is completely harmless.

I was actually quite annoyed about the whole thing but getting angry and shouting is not going to change their perception of these very misunderstood creatures. I explained with great enthusiasm the beauty and importance of the said snake species and showing them the amazing colours and markings managed to put it into context by saying how do you feel when you see a group of children jumping up and down when they have just killed a beautiful sun bird? One replied “yes! such a waste isn’t it”. “EXACTLY!” I said and left the group smiling but feeling quite sad about the whole thing. We could not save this one but I am sure I have already saved the next Bush Snake that crosses the path of either of the four workmen. Photo by Royjan Taylor

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SAVED A RED HEAD BEAKED SNAKE

Yesterday afternoon we rescued a Red Head Beaked Snake Rhamphiophis rubropunctatus from Mr. Richard Bennett’s house in Watamu. It had first been wrongly identified as a Black Mamba Dendroaspis polylepis by the house staff. Fortunately it was not killed and we were called to remove it, just goes to show that even a snake as docile as the Red Head Beaked Snake can very easily be killed just for looking similar to a dangerous one. The snake was released into the wild about half a kilometre behind the snake farm. Photo by Mike Dobiey.

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WATAMU BARK SNAKE RESCUED TODAY

This morning a good specimen of the rare Watamu Bark Snake Hemirhagerrhis hildebrandtii was collected from Mr. Mickey Fernandez’s house on plot 41, Watamu. The snake was taken back to Bio-Ken for further study. Several of these snakes have been collected from the beach plots in Watamu. This means that hopefully their numbers in the wild are still good in the area. over 27 years of recording at Bio-Ken we have found all specimens between plot 5 and temple point at the end of the beach and not anywhere else. Photo by Dr. Wolfgang Wuster

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