Thursday, January 27, 2011

Green Vine Snake eating bird

This beautiful snake is a Green Vine Snake (Oxybelis fulgidus), and is common in Tortuguero, Costa Rica.

I found it today in one of the nets as it was trying to eat a hummingbird!

When I found it, the hummingbird was already dead. I do net runs every half hour, but I was too late for the juvenile Rufous-tailed Hummingbird that the snake is trying to eat here.

Hummingbirds are often less entangled in the nets than other birds, and the snake certainly had a chance of picking it out of the net, just as the hummingbird had a chance of flying out.

But the poor little hummingbird was stuck in the net and couldn't get out; for the same reason, the snake couldn't eat it.

These snakes can get over 2 m long. This individual was about a meter and a half.

Man of the hour Walt Sakai got the snake out of the net. I had no idea if this thing was going to be poisonous, so I exercised the necessary caution. Next time I find one in the nets, I'll remove it myself.

I do net runs every half hour here, which is more frequent than at many other banding stations, mainly to prevent birds from overheating should they get caught in a sunny spot. Apparently, other dangers are lurking too. This is the first bird that died during my time here. I hope it will be the last also.

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