And for all who want to know what a Stiletto snake is, here is some of the attributes:
Bibron's burrowing snake or Atractaspis bibronii
Adults average 30-50 cm in length with a maximum of 70 cm. The color pattern consists of a purplish-brown, gray or black ground color, often with a purplish sheen. The belly can be brownish, white or pale in color, with a series of dark blotches. In specimens with a lighter belly coloration, this may also include two or three scale rows on the flanks.
Found in southern Africa, from central Namibia, east to northern South Africa, north to southeastern DR Congo and Uganda, eastern Tanzania, coastal Kenya, and extreme southern coastal Somalia
Semi-desert, savannah and woodland.
The venom is highly toxic, although it is produced in very small amounts. Bites are common in some areas. And this is very interresting:
Often, snake handlers are bitten who are unaware that this species is able to bite while being held by the neck. Bite symptoms usually include mild to intense pain, local swelling with occasional blistering and necrosis and regional lymphadenopathy.
No fatalities have been recorded.
is a beautiful picture of the little critter that had a problem of being removed from the luxurious accomodation at B&D. Think most of us feel like that when we are told to leave Kruger to go back home. In short not something you will give your kids to play with. I have serious sympothy with you Lourens!
Monne, do not feel too bad, it is what they call an occupational hazzard, and I am sure if you should ask Lourens to do the same again tomorrow, he will! He might just use a pair of long pliers this time!
There is also another variety that is resident in SA that is called the beaked stiletto (deurden's stiletto or "A.duerdeni"), with some similar characteristics, just lighter in colour and with a slightly scale difference around the head. Strangely, it is unlikely to find these two varieties near each other, they do not like to share their habitat.
BTW there is no safe way to pick these up; they can erect the fangs withour opening the mouth - evolved through catching prey in confines spaces, i.e. burrows.
Another nasty little surprise added to the previous I mentioned concerning the twisting of the head.