Rare tree snake spotted in Goa wildlife sanctuary

Boulenger's Bronzeback tree snake

"The Boulenger's Bronzeback tree snake is a rare species with its taxonomic nomenclature still uncertain. It is known in a handful of locations in the Western Ghats, including Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary in Goa, Anshi National Park in Karnataka and forests of Amboli and Matheran in Maharashtra," environmentalist Nirmal Kulkarni said.

The snake was documented by Kulkarni and his assistant Namdeo Naik while it was swallowing a Malabar gliding frog in the Mhadei sanctuary, located 750 metres above the sea level.

The environmentalist said, elsewhere, the snake has been reported from Sri Lanka.
"Very little is known of the taxonomy, behaviour and biology of this elusive and shy tree snake," he said.

He said the snake was observed stalking a foam nest of a Malabar gliding frog and subsequently capturing a female frog on a wild Jamun tree at a height of approximately 14 feet above the ground near a water body.

"The tree snake swallowed the gliding frog and the entire process took one hour ten minutes during which field observations and photo documentary evidences were collected for further study. Climate data recorded humidity at 82 per cent and temperature at 28 degrees Centigrade on that day," Kulkarni said.

Images and other information on this observation have been sent to various scientific institutions and independent researchers for identification, he said. The Mhadei region, spread over Goa, Maharashtra and Karnataka, is home to an array of lesser known and yet important Herpetofauna (reptiles and amphibians).

Many rare and endemic species have been reported from this region, acknowledged as a hot spot for lesser-known wildlife creatures by researchers in the country.

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