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Visit by a Boomslang

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Visit by a Boomslang

Saturday afternoon March 7/09 Louis was at the controls of the cam at EP, together with Prins one of the EP rangers. While panning around Prins spotted movement amongst the weaver nests in the tree on the island. To an experienced guide, the movement suggested a snake amongst the nests.

Louis then zoomed in on the snake which Prins ID’ed as a female boomslang. From our chairs in USA to Australia and everywhere in between we watched as the snake raided the weaver nests. We could clearly see how the nests moved when she poked her head into them.

She eventually slithered deeper into the tree and we lost sight of her.

CLICK HERE to see the video of this event, taken by Sassabuck.

The Boomslang hunts during the day making meals of chameleons, other lizards, frogs, and sometimes small mammals, birds and eggs from nesting birds which they swallow whole.  It can kill humans with its venomous bite though such cases are rare, as boomslangs rarely attack people unless handled or threatened.

These climbing snake are oviparous (egg layers), laying 8-25 eggs usually in the hollows of trees or in leaf litter. Young Boomslang snakes hatch in the Spring, from 70-100 days later.

The boomslang is known to prey on weaver colonies.  In some cases, birds will stop laying eggs when disturbed by snakes or humans.  In this case, according to the EP Ranger, the parent birds did not return to the nests after the attack.

This was not the first time we have seen a boomslang on Africam. On February 17, 2008 one was caught at Nkorho Lodge and released near the waterhole.  This is what Ernst said when questioned about it at the time.
"The second snake that we captured in the camp was a Boomslang, Boom=tree and Slang=snake. It is backed-fanged with Hemotoxic venom, Eg causes Bleeding and your blood doesn't clot. Bites are very rare and it is an aboreal snake, eg lives in trees."