From the Mozambique News Agency:
Mozambique: New Venomous Snake Discovered in Cabo Delgado
15 January 2013
Maputo — A researcher at Lurio University, based in the northern Mozambican province of Nampula, has discovered a species of highly venomous snake not previously known in the country.
The species is Thelotornis usambaricus, which belongs to a group of snakes commonly known as twig snakes. Previously, this species was only known from Tanzania, but the researcher, Harith Farooq, discovered it when he was undertaking a survey of terrestrial wild life on Vamizi island, in the Quirimbas archipelago, off the coast of Cabo Delgado province.
Farooq caught two of the snakes, which he could not immediately identify.
He sent one of the animals to the Natural History Museum in Zimbabwe to ascertain its taxonomic classification. This work was done by the zoologist Donald G. Broadley, who discovered the species in Tanzania in 2001.
The second of the snakes is now in the reptile collection kept in the branch of Lurio University in the Cabo Delgado provincial capital, Pemba.
Thelotornis Usambaricus is a member of the Thelotornis genus of back-fanged snakes. Its venom is hemotoxic – which means that it destroys red blood cells. This type of venom can disrupt blood clotting, and cause generalized tissue damage.
It is much slower acting than the neurotoxic venom (poison that affects the nervous system) of snakes such as the black mamba. However, no anti-venom has yet been developed for Thelotornis poison, and although bites are rare, fatalities have been recorded in Tanzania.
This snake usually conceals itself in trees, from which it strikes at its favoured prey – lizards, frogs and sometimes birds.
With this discovery, the number of snake species known to exist in Mozambique has risen to 96.
The black mamba has quite a reputation. It is one of the world’s deadliest snakes; it is the fastest land snake in the world; and it is Africa’s biggest poisonous snake. This snake’s potential danger has been the subject of many African myths and it has been blamed for thousands of human deaths: here.
- Roadkill Experiment Shows That Six Percent of Drivers Deliberatley Swerve to Hit Animals (endangeredwildlifetrust.wordpress.com)
- Toddler incubates nest of deadly snakes (abc.net.au)
- Sea snakes new discovery (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Venom as toxicant, at what cost! (thehindu.com)
- Reality and Myths about Snakes! (indiaexpressone.wordpress.com)
- Deadly snakes in toddler wardrobe (bbc.co.uk)
Reblogged this on bearspawprint.
Reblogged this on Ann Novek–With the Sky as the Ceiling and the Heart Outdoors.
Pingback: Tackling wildlife crime in Mozambique | Dear Kitty. Some blog
Pingback: Good rhino news from Zimbabwe | Dear Kitty. Some blog
Pingback: Protect beautiful Mozambique rainforest | Dear Kitty. Some blog
Pingback: Four new chameleon species discovered in Mozambique | Dear Kitty. Some blog
Pingback: Four new chameleon species discovered in Mozambique | Gaia Gazette