On Saturday we saw, or rather heard this snake catch a frog. The poor frog squealed loudly for a second before he was swallowed whole. In the picture you can see that the snake has already swallowed quite a bit but there is still a foot (or other part) sticking out of his mouth.
It is a green spotted bush snake, the very same type as the one we dealt with last summer. If you are a long time reader you’ll remember that we first thought it was a boomslang when The Bean and I chased it around our house. Read Great snakes to hear more about that adventure. After I published that post we were told that it was not a boomslang but a green spotted bush snake which I corrected in the following post – Mistaken identity?
The spotted bush snake (Philothamnus semivariegatus)
This snake can be found in variable colours, but most of the time bright green to darker green above. As you can see in this photo, the snake has spots or crossbars on the front half of the body. These spots or crossbars sometimes become very faint. The back half of the body is usually plain. The snake’s belly is yellowish to greenish-white and has distinctive keeled ventral scales which helps this snake to climb. Some specimens have bronze or brownish colouring on the dorsal parts and some have a bluish tint, but most are green. Adults can reach lengths of up to 1,3 meters. The spotted bush snake has a round black pupil with an orange iris. This is a diurnal snake and has a very unusual coloured tongue which is bright blue with a black tip.
It is an excellent climber and can be found in bushes, trees, on walls or even gliding in between the cracks of bricks. When this snake is disturbed, it will move away fast and in short bursts to the nearest cover. If it is cornered or when it turns defensive, it will inflate its neck like some other snakes and the blue skin in between the scales will be visible. This makes it look more dangerous, almost like a Boomslang. It bites readily if you try to catch it. (Now you tell me!)
This snake is almost always mistaken for a Boomslang. Although there are many differences, they both can be seen in trees and both are green. The spotted bush snake is harmless to humans, but often killed by us, because of this confusion.
Their main enemies are cats, predatory birds and other snakes, as well as humansand it mainly feeds on geckos, but frogs and chameleons are also taken.