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 Post subject: Snake: Stripe-bellied Sand
Unread postPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 9:39 am 
During a recent visit to Tshugulu Lodge (Mapungubwe) we had the privilege to watch a life and death struggle between a Common Flat Lizard (platysaurus intermedius cf. rhodesianus) and a Western Stripe-bellied Sand Snake (psammophis subtaeniatus)….for me this was such a unique sighting, something I will never forget…. 8)

Incidentally, we already met up with this Western Stripe-bellied Sand Snake the previous day…I almost stepped on it where it was basking in the sun on the paved walkway….initially it fled, but later returned to the same spot and were not at all bother with us coming close and taking photos….and later on, with us walking up and down…it was actually quite tame and stayed around for about 2 hrs….

The next day I heard a splash in the swimming pool and upon investigation found the following on the top step of the swimming pool. I presume that during their struggle both the lizard and snake ended up in the swimming pool.

The lizard appeared to be dead. At some stage the snake was actually holding the lizard under water…I’m not sure if this was intentional, trying to drown the lizard?

After a while the snake tried to lift the lizard out of the pool…but the lizard was to heavy for this.


At one side, the first step of the pool slopes against a rock that was build into the pool….and the snake tried to get the lizard out on this side. This should have been easy for the snake but for some reason it appeared that it did not really want to use this option.


The snake again tried to lift the lizard over the edge….


This was turning into quite a struggle with the snake trying to lift the lizard….and the snake took a few seconds to rest.


Eventually the snake again went to the side of the rock, but still did not get itself and the lizard out.

After this the snake suddenly let go of the lizard and sped out of the pool….the water in the pool was very cold and I suppose the snake’s body temperature was getting too low and thus it had to get out.
But there is a twist in the tail…. We were all staring at the poor dead lizard drifting around when suddenly it came to life and also shot out of the pool at the speed of light :shock: …..I’m however not sure if the lizard made it after this, the poison of the snake probably took its toll later.


Last edited by Jumbo on Sat Jun 20, 2009 4:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Stripe-bellied Sand Snake vs Common Flat Lizard
Unread postPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 10:22 am 
Below, a link to the video that my dad took:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/woodwise/3544554887/


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 Post subject: Re: Stripe-bellied Sand Snake vs Common Flat Lizard
Unread postPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 1:28 pm 
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Great sighting & sequence Jumbo. :dance:

Like I have said many times. It is not just about the so called 'big 5'.

We watched for 45 minutes as a Burchell's coucal made a meal of a chameleon at the Mantambeni hide in Kruger a few years ago.

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 Post subject: Re: Stripe-bellied Sand Snake vs Common Flat Lizard
Unread postPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 2:14 pm 
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My SO will NOT be able to sit 45 minutes to watch that. Wonder if she'll make 5! Lads maybe will. The girl? :roll:

Jumbo, great sighting - thanks for sharing.

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 Post subject: Re: Stripe-bellied Sand Snake vs Common Flat Lizard
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:02 am 
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What a special sighting :D I've seen one of these guys chasing a Waterburg Flat lizard on our farm, but the snake was too slow! COngrats on the great pictures too! :clap:

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 Post subject: Re: Stripe-bellied Sand Snake vs Common Flat Lizard
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 3:39 pm 
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Thanks for posting this! What a sighting it must have been!

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 Post subject: Re: Stripe-bellied Sand Snake vs Common Flat Lizard
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2009 3:41 pm 
Happy you all enjoyed it 8) ….this was for sure my best wildlife sighting for this year (well, so far :wink: ).
Ones chances of seeing a leopard killing an impala or a lion catching something is much higher than seeing something like this….and many people do not realize this when they have such a sighting

I also posted these photos on Flickr and a guy (Wim Botha) made a very interesting comment on it….he pointed out that the lizard is biting its tail to prevent the snake from swallowing it head-first. That makes perfect sense!!! 8) If one look at the photos you will see that it will not at all be possible for the snake to swallow the lizard while it is in that position!

Just for a laugh: I thought the lizard mistaken its own tail as part of the snake and tried to bite the snake back…. :doh: :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Stripe-bellied Sand Snake vs Common Flat Lizard
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2009 4:21 pm 
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Wim is quite correct. That is a well know defense mechanism.

Excellent sighting Jumbo! 8)

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 Post subject: Re: Stripe-bellied Sand Snake vs Common Flat Lizard
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2009 5:18 pm 
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Great pics Jumbo! :clap:

I had a similar sighting at Letaba outside the shop in April. I photographed the whole sequence of events. I posted the final shot on the "Letaba sightings" thread yesterday for those of you that want to see it.


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 Post subject: Re: Stripe-bellied Sand Snake vs Common Flat Lizard
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2009 5:29 pm 
Sprocky wrote:
I had a similar sighting at Letaba outside the shop in April. I photographed the whole sequence of events. I posted the final shot on the "Letaba sightings" thread yesterday for those of you that want to see it.


Wow Sprocky, that is an awesome photo :clap:
I would love to see the whole sequence of photos you took…..maybe you can add it into this thread and we can change the heading on the topic to be just “Stripe-bellied Sand Snake“ …will really be nice to have more pix of this snake in one thread 8)


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 Post subject: Re: Stripe-bellied Sand Snake vs Common Flat Lizard
Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 11:39 am 
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Jumbo, here are a few of the shots from my sequence.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image


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 Post subject: Re: Stripe-bellied Sand Snake vs Common Flat Lizard
Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 1:35 pm 
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8) Very nice indeed! A real special sighting!

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 Post subject: Re: Stripe-bellied Sand Snake vs Common Flat Lizard
Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 4:03 pm 
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Sprocky. great sequence of pics! :clap: :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Stripe-bellied Sand Snake vs Common Flat Lizard
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2009 1:04 pm 
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Hi Jumbo,
Fantastic photography and narration. You made it come to life. And also Sprocky for those related photos. :shock:


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 Post subject: Re: Stripe-bellied Sand Snake vs Common Flat Lizard
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2009 4:11 pm 
Sprocky, that is a remarkable series of photos....apart from the sighting itself, the quality of the photos is noteworthy. :clap:
Thank you for sharing this!!! :thumbs_up:


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