Green Vine Snake Facts!

Green Vine Snake Facts!

Green Vine Snake Facts!

Green vine snake, Yasuni
Green vine snake, Yasuni Oxybelis fulgidus by Geoff Gallice cc2.0

Most people don’t want snakes as pet but for those that do, there are popular choices. The green vine snake is one of them, prized for its exotic look. Here are some green vine snake facts worth knowing.


Kinds of Green Vine Snakes

Oxybelis fulgidus in Honduras.
Oxybelis fulgidus in Honduras. Photo taken by Dimitri Eggenberger. (Multi-licence with GFDL and Creative Commons CC-BY 2.5)

There are two kinds of snakes that are called green vine snakes. One of them is Oxybelis fulgidus which is also known as the flatbread snake or locally as the cobra bicuda which literally translates to ‘beaked snake’. It can be found in Mexico, Central America and South America and can grow up to 79 inches long and less than an inch thick. The scientific name Oxybelis fulgidus comes from the Greek word oxybeles meaning ‘sharp-pointed’ and the Latin word fulgere meaning ‘to shine’.

Ahaetulla_nasuta_Green_Vine_snake_Asian_green_vine_long-nosed_whip
Ahaetulla nasuta, known as Green vine snake recorded from Wayanad , Kerala. Image credit: Uajith, cc3.0

The other green vine snake is Ahaetulla nasuta which is also known as the Asian green vine snake or the long-nosed whip snake. It can be found in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar and can grow up to 60 inches or five feet long. The name of its genus, Ahaetulla, comes from a Sinhalese name which means eye striker since it is widely believed that this snake goes for the eyes of attackers, striking them with its pointed snout and blinding them. This, however, has been proven to be a myth and no one has gone blind from an Asian green vine snake attack.




Appearance

Ahaetulla_head
Head of Vine snake showing horizontal pupil. Photograph by L. Shyamal, Wynaad 2006, GFDL.

As the common and scientific names of these green vine snakes imply, they are slender yellowish green snakes that look just like vines, which provides them with excellent camouflage when they are up in the trees. Even their tongues, which they use to smell prey like other snakes, are green. Their heads are slightly thicker than their bodies and look like a leaf, flat and pointed.

How can you tell the Asian green vine snake apart from the South American green vine snake? Just look at their eyes. They both have yellow eyes with black pupils but the Asian green vine snake has horizontal pupils which look just like slits, giving it a more menacing appearance, while the South American green vine snake has round pupils.

Ahaetulla_nasuta_threat_display
A nasuta in a threat display. Note the black and white interstices. Image credit: Jayendra Chiplunkar, cc3.0

Also, the Asian green vine snake has a more noticeable and intimidating threat display. When they feel threatened, most snakes will try to pose their own threat. Cobras, for example, lift their bodies and stretch their necks. The black mamba opens its mouth. Rattlesnakes raise their rattles and shake it more rapidly. For the Asian green vine snake, it opens its mouth wide and expands its body so that it looks thicker than usual and as its skin stretches, it turns from plain green to green with black and white markings, looking almost like a different snake.


Green Vine Snake Venom

Green_Vine_Snake_Venom
Poise and Poison by Furryscaly, CC BY-SA 2.0

Both green vine snakes, like other vine snakes, are considered mildly venomous. What this means is that their venom can cause health complications but is not toxic enough to kill, unless the victim is very young or elderly or sickly to begin with.

In order for envenomation to occur, though, a snake has to bury its fangs in a person’s skin first and that is unlikely to occur in the case of the green vine snake. Why? Because green vine snakes have rear fangs. This means that their fangs are at the back of their jaws. In order to release venom, they must chew on their prey, or on a person’s hand. The latter is not likely to happen since most people are usually able to shake off a snake and run away after its first bite.

If envenomation does occur, a symptom of which is the numbness of the bite site, treatment must be sought immediately to avoid serious complications.


Green Vine Snake Diet

Ahaetulla_diet
Ahaetulla nasuta with Ristella travancorica Photograph by L. Shyamal, Wynaad 2006, GFDL.

The green vine snake of Central and South America feeds on mice, lizards and birds. The Asian green vine snake prefers lizards and frogs. Both of them are diurnal or active during the day, taking advantage of their camouflage as they slither through the branches in search of food. They hunt using their sense of smell and once they have found suitable prey, they follow it for a short while, waiting for the right opportunity to bite its head, after which they hold on and start chewing, releasing their venom. Once the prey has stopped moving completely, the snakes swallow it whole and quickly then rest high up in the trees while digestion takes place.


Green Vine Snake Reproduction

Female_Vine_Snake
Female Vine Snake[Ahaetulla nasuta] In Breeding Season At Mangaon, Maharashtra. Image credit: Shantanu Kuveskar, cc3.0

Green vine snakes are ovoviviparous. What this means is that the eggs remain inside the body of the female until they are fully developed, then they hatch and are born as live young, capable of hunting from the moment they are born. How many young are born and how big they are at birth remains to be known as these snakes have not been successfully bred in captivity.


Are Green Vine Snakes Endangered?

Long-nosed_Vine_Snake
Long-nosed Vine Snake Ahaetulla nasuta at Louisville Zoo. Image credit: Ltshears, cc3.0

Currently, neither green vine snake is classified as an endangered species and both continue to be caught from the wild to be sold into pet trade.




Green Vine Snakes are featured in these following books:
25 Awesome Snakes
25 Strangest Animals in the World!
101 Facts… Snakes!
The Daily Snake – Snake Facts !


The YouTube video playlist below contains videos about Green Vine Snakes. Details of the videos featured are underneath.

The Playlist:

  1. AMAZING! cute baby vine snake stretches by What on Earth?
  2. Green Vine Snake by actnowtv
  3. SLIMEY STEVE AND HIS AMAZING ASIAN VINE SNAKE! by UNDERGROUNDREPTILES
  4. Green Oriental Whip Snake I Found in Thailand Jungle by Thailand Living

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxybelis_fulgidus
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahaetulla_nasuta
http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Oxybelis_fulgidus/
http://www.indiansnakes.org/content/green-vine-snake
http://www.ehow.com/about_6575160_information-green-vine-snake.html
http://www.reptilesmagazine.com/Care-Sheets/Snakes/Asian-Vine-Snake/

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