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Monday, November 8, 2010

Snake and lizard - not for the squeemish

Just as we were leaving work, we heard a plop in the driveway and went to see what it was. It is a Brown House snake who had found a Speckled Rock Skink.
What was amazing was the fact that no matter what the skink did, the snake made sure that part of his body was always across the skink in order to hold it down and it could not move.
All snakes have a lower jaw which they can unhinge and if you have a look at the mouth in this series of pictures, you can see how it stretches to accommodate the size of his prey which is at least 5 times bigger.

Brown House snakes are medium sized and less than 3 feet in length. They have no fangs and are not venomous an so constrict their prey.
Once the prey is ingested, the stomach fluids dissolve the prey and all which is left is a small, cylindrical pellet which they regurgitate.
Because of their slow metabolic rate, reptiles need to eat less frequently than other animals or humans and can go for long periods without food, especially in the winter.

40 comments:

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Joan what an amazing series of photos. Not often one gets to see that in the wild. Great shots. Diane

Dejemonos sorprender said...

Ujjj amazing pictures! great captures..

kenramos said...

Not too often do I get in on things like this, as a matter of fact I have never gotten in on any predation shots like this, other than those of a few insects, namely spiders. Things like this, though cruel and a snake has to eat, are interesting to watch.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Diane. I am always happy to find something different like this.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Dejemonos sorprender. It was a lucky find.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Ken. It is the first time I have been able to photograph a sequence like this too even though I have spent so many years in the bush. Sometimes one is just lycky to be in the right place at the right time.

You are right, it does seem cruel but then one has to accept that it is part of the natural world we live in and does happen.

cameravoyages said...

What a great find! I'll be hosting the blog carnival 'House of Herps'this month, do you mind if I include it in the collection?

Jo said...

Wow, Joan, I tried to ignore the fact that the poor lizard was suffocating and was fascinated by the sequency which you were so lucky to photograph. What a series and I love your interesting posts about wildlife. Have a great day. (((Hugs))) Jo

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Hello Adrian. It would be a pleasure to have it included. Thanks a lot.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Sorry Jo. I know this is not pleasant for a lot of people that is why I put the warning in the header. You are right, it was great luck to find this.

Sandra said...

these are amazing photographs. i have seen this in a science museum, but never like this. it amazes me that small snake can swallow that big lizard. super shots for sure

birdy said...

What a wonderful opportunity you had to photograph snake eating a lizard. Wounder how did you photographed him from so close? Personally I'm always afraid of snakes whether venomous or non-venomous.

Craig Glenn said...

Nice capture Joan! What was the pop noise? It's a pretty snake.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Sandra. It is not often one gets the chance to photograph something like this, but luck was on my side. :)

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

It was a great opportunity Birdy. Knowing it was not a poisonous snake, I could get right up to him to take the pictures but in anycase, he was much to busy eating. :)

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Craig. It is a pretty one.

Our office is on a hill and so the garden is terraced. It had caught this on a high ledge and the plop I heard was it falling down onto the paving about 2- 2 1/2 feet. Not even the fall distracted it from what it was doing or loosened its grip in any way. Unfortunatley I had to go so could not take pictures of the whole thing.

JM said...

WOW, amazing! The snake did't care about your presence. Fantastic captures!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Jose. No, he had his mouth full!! LOL!!

The lizard was still alive surprisingly enough and kept twisting this way and that to try to get away. I think that this was another reason for the snake holding it down with its body.

Andrea said...

Great serie Joan!
Stunning!
You had the luck for a great situation:but luck is nothing without a great photographer!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks so much Andrea. The pictures are a bit dark as it was late afternoon but I was so close I did not want to use my flash in case it damaged its eyes.

Andrea said...

I find them absolutely perfect.
I think flash is never a good idea in a situation like this:you could loose sharpness and the images could not sound as natural as they are here.
You made the best.

Gaelyn said...

Ick and Cool! What a lucky thing to see and photograph. That snake is quite a beautiful color. Nice close ups, especially the eyes.

Rambling Woods said...

Wow...what a catch and what a mouthful....

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Andrea. I would rather take a bad pictue than hurt the subjects in any way.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

What I found interesting was the difference in its skin Gaelyn. The part which was stretched to accommodate the lizard looks like it is striped.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Michelle. This seemed as if it would never fit in his mouth.

Ida said...

Venomous or not - I'm too afraid of snakes and won't come near it!! GREAT pics, Joan!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Ida. I do not know enough about snakes so I am very careful around them.

By the way, I love your avatar with the little cub.

Sreddy Yen said...

Hi Joan! These are really amazing (yet scary) photos! The snake looks more red than brown though. What is a "skink"? Is it a lizard type thing?

Please will you have a look at the bug on my blog. I have no clue what it is. Thanks :)

Sreddy

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Hi Sreddy. Are you blogging again? I thought you would be in the middle of exams?

Yes, it is a lizard and are very common around the homes.

Firefly said...

No amount of money can buy this kind of opportunity without keeping the snake in captivity. I bow before you for all the luck that came your way on this day.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Jonker. I could hardly believe it myself when I saw it. :) Thank goodness I always have my camera handy or I would have missed out on it.

A human kind of human said...

What an amazing opportunity to photograph something like this. I am wondering how long it would take the snake to completely swallow the skink and how long before it would have to feed again.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Hello Anne. Up to this point was about 10 minutes so I reckon anything up to an hour. This should keep its litle tummy happy for a few days or up to a week.

Becky and Gary said...

Talk about being at the right place at the right time- Awesome pictures Joan! You do have the coolest posts, and so informative. Most we Northerners will never see.
B.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Definitely!! Lusk was on my side alright. Thanks Becky. I guess a lot of the stuff I post must be a bit strange to you. :)

Mary said...

Ugh...but you got great photos of the drama! I'm sure it was both interesting and sort of icky all at the same time.

Friend of HK said...

Absolutely amazing captures! What a dramatic event! Thanks for sharing.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Mary. I think I am used to this kind of drama here so do not find it icky. :)

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Friend of HK. It is that old saying of being in the right place at the right time. If it had not fallen onto the road, I would probably have walked right passed the drama and missed it. :)