Tuesday, 26 January 2016

A Curious Visitor

Every so often we get a visit during the day from a Green Tree Snake, Dendrelaphis punctulata. this is a harmless snake--at least to humans. It prey on small lizards, frogs and even small turtles.

This one was about 50cm long. Whenever we see them, they are curious and often follow us around for a short distance. They certainly do not bolt in retreat at first.

Looking closely at this little fellow, I noticed it is a swelling on its head.
It had a few marks on the rest of its body. It could be the result of an attack by a bird or feral cat or, perhaps, a subcutaneous parasite, like a fly. And then within a few minutes, the visitor was gone.


Dinah Ackerson said...

Looks pretty normal to my non-veterinarian eye. The swellings on the sides of the head are, I think, just the quadrate bones, and the very slight thickening of the neck due to its held-up position. (Oh, I'm Dinah's other, Bob Love -- didn't elect to change my name when we married.

Euprepiosaurus said...

I agree that the swellings on the head (at least from what I can see in the photo) are from the quadrate bones. However, the bumps along the body are almost certainly pentastomes. From what another PhD student in my lab has told me, they eventually exit the snake, are then taken up by a cockroach, which are then eaten by a gecko, which is then eaten by a snake, etc... Anyway, pentastome lumps are common on snakes here in north Qld, especially on common tree snakes. There's a paper by Crystal Kelehear et al. 2014 'Pentastomids of wild snakes in the Australian tropics' that offers a bit more info.