Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes

Dedicated exclusively to field herping.

Moderator: Scott Waters

Post Reply
Matt Cage
Posts: 127
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 12:04 pm
Location: Denver, CO

Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes

Post by Matt Cage » March 22nd, 2013, 4:12 pm

This is part 3 of 3 in a series. For part 1, visit here:
http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... =2&t=15446
For part 2, visit here:
http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... =2&t=15525

Finding snakes in the tropics can be challenging. They seem to be found in streaks and, taking road cruising out of the equation, it’s not uncommon to go a day or two between coming across them. That being said, at the end of every Peruvian Amazon trip, the list of snakes is impressive.

Boa constrictors are common throughout, but they are sometimes tough to find. On a typical trip, we usually come across one somewhere, sometimes right in the middle of camp. This year, the only one we found this trip was brought into camp by the locals. They are quite beautiful from this area!
Image
Boa Constrictor





Amazon Tree Boas are quite common and we generally find multiple specimens per trip. They come in multiple color phases, with the drab gray being the most common. Unfortunately, we did not find any red phase this year, they can be stunning! They are often found right in camp, on the trails and on the shore near bodies of water. Here’s some that we did find.
Image
Image
Image
Corallus hortulanus
Amazon Tree Boa





The Rainbow Boas from this area spectacular. They are not uncommonly found, most years, multiples are found. This year, we only found 1, a beautiful adult found by Jake.
Image
Image
Epicrates cenchria
Peruvian Rainbow Boa







Maybe it is because I usually go to the Amazon in January through March, when the river water is usually fairly high, but I don’t find many Anacondas. I have found a few over the years, mostly smaller ones along the smaller waterways on the trails. This year, we had one brought in by the local fisherman.
Image
Image
Eunectes murinus
Anaconda






The genus Atractus is a farily large genus in the new world tropics. These are fossorial snakes and there are an unknown amount of species around the Peruvian Amazon. To me, they are generally very hard to identify. Most are small, but I have found them up to 4 feet long.
Image
Image
Atractus collaris








Jim found this first one in the leaf litter along the long trail.
Image
Image
Atractus snethlageae







This Chironius was seen as it was coiled up up about 20 feet up in a tree. We made an effort to catch it and watched it go higher into the trees. This thing was at least 8 feet long and gorgeous. I actually got a good view of the snake as it headed higher, but I could not get better photos.
Image
Chironius exoletus
Forest Racer





These Chironius were found in multiple locations. The first one was seen swimming in the Rio Orosa and then photographed near the shore. They are fairly abundant daytime snakes.
Image
Image
Image
Image
Chironius fuscus
Common Whipsnake







Another fairly common racer is the Common Glossy Racer. I found this one at night on the long trail (first photo in-situ)
Image
Image
A juvenile was found at Santa Cruz.
Image








Liophis is a genus of snakes that I am quite familiar with in Central America. On most Peru trips, I find a species or two. Liophis typhlus is a common daytime snake in the Amazon and it’s usually found on the ground. They are fairly fast and when agitated, they expose a hood, kind of like a Heterdon. I have been bitten by them many times with no reaction, but Dan got bit by one this trip and he did have a small reaction to the bite. L. typhus comes in multiple color phases, gray, brown, red, green, and blue. Here is a few of the specimens found.
Image
Image
Image
Liophis typhlus
Velvety Swamp Snake







Helicops is a genus of South American Watersnakes. They look and act much like Nerodia. They are fairly aggressive fish and frog eaters. Last year, I got bit by one and it quickly wrapped around me constricting my entire thumb, squeezing. It took a while to get it off! I have no idea if there is any documentation of them being constrictors. H. angulatus seems to be the most common species in the genus, but we do find at least 3 more species occasionally. This year, we found an exceptionally colored H. angulatus. The first one is a normal color phase specimen.
Image
Image
Image
Helicops angulatus
South American Banded Water Snake







This year, we came across what I believe to be H. yacu at Madre Selva.
Image
Helicops yacu
Peruvian Keelback

I have a longtime love of the Oxyrhopus. It started back in the early 1990’s when I found a beautiful O. petolarius in Costa Rica. We found all 3 species (that I know of) in the Peruvian Amazon on this trip. They are nocturnal.
Image
Image
Oxyrhopus formosus
Yellow Headed Calico Snake







Image
Image
Oxyrhopus melanogenys
Black Headed Calico Snake






Image
Image
Oxyrhopus petolarius
Banded Calico Snake








Xenoxybelis are very photogenic. Though diurnal, I find many more on branches at night.
Image
Image
Xenoxybelis argenteus
Striped Green Vine Snake









Image
Dipsas catesbyi
Ornate Snail Eating Snake








Imantodes cenchoa is very common and we found many this trip. We found one that was in the process of eating an Anolis!
Image
Image
Image
Imantodes cenchoa
Blunt Headed Tree Snake







This is a species I have not found before, I was quite excited when John brought this back to camp at Santa Cruz!
Image
Imantodes lentiferus
Amazon Blunt Headed Tree Snake






We don’t find these every trip, so finding one was pretty exciting!
Image
Siphlophus cervinus
Common Liana Snake





I found this guy a foot off of the ground crawling around a tree stump. The first shot is in-situ.
Image
Image
Tripanurgos compressus
Red Vine Snake






Aquatic Coral Snakes were probably the most commonly found snake this trip. I think most nights, two or more were found. If you targeted them by walking off trail along the small creeks, you could fairly easily find them. Most found this trip were small. The first one was on the trail in-situ.
Image
Image
Image






Though there are at least 7 species of Micrurus there, we only found two species this year. There were 4 of these that showed up at different times during the trip.
Image
Image
Image
Micrurus lemniscatus
Eastern Coral Ribbon Snake







And on to the Pit Vipers. The ever common Fer-De-Lance turned out to be not so common. I think we found a total of 4 of them during the trip, including a resident that was found multiple times right in camp at Madre Selva. This juvenile was the only one I photographed.
Image
Image
Bothrops atrox
South American Lancehead






I saved the best for last. I have gone on 22 trips to Bushmaster habitat in my life, and have yet to find one. I did get to photograph one in Costa Rica that was found a few days prior to my arrival. On one trip to Peru, a similar experience presented itself. On our second to last day in Santa Cruz (towards the end of the trip), Mike and I were walking up the main trail at about 1 AM. It was a misty night and we had seen quite a few snakes on the hike. We were about ¾ mile from the camp on our way when we looked up and guess what we saw.
Image
This was one of the more remarkable moments of my life. Mike and I just looked at it in awe for what seemed to be a few minutes. We got some photos before bagging it for daytime photos. This was an incredible experience, one I will never forget. It was released the next day at the same spot.
Image
Image
and the release:
Image
Lachesis muta
Bushmaster

Thanks to Marisa for this shot!
Image



This was a very successful trip and I could not have enjoyed it more. There were such good people on the trip, and the herping was spectacular, as usual. I hope others put their trip reports up also!

User avatar
Hans Breuer (twoton)
Posts: 3200
Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
Contact:

Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » March 22nd, 2013, 10:28 pm

All that splendor, AND a Buschmeister, AND all presented with very nice photography. THANK YOU.

User avatar
Mike VanValen
Posts: 2073
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 3:41 pm
Location: Connecticut
Contact:

Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes

Post by Mike VanValen » March 22nd, 2013, 11:06 pm

Outstanding. That Bushmaster gets around :lol:

The Oxyrhopus are gems, as is the rainbow boa. Great stuff!

User avatar
Rags
Posts: 384
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 11:30 am
Location: U.K.

Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes

Post by Rags » March 23rd, 2013, 12:13 am

Well done Matt. I have enjoyed all three posts. You certainly found some spectacular reptiles and amphibians - and left the most spectacular to the very end!

Thanks for taking the time to put this together and post it here.

Cheers, Rags.

User avatar
Martti Niskanen
Posts: 363
Joined: June 11th, 2010, 10:19 am
Location: Helsinki, Finland

Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes

Post by Martti Niskanen » March 23rd, 2013, 1:07 am

Fantastic set of posts.

User avatar
Ruxs
Posts: 372
Joined: November 23rd, 2011, 8:26 am
Location: London, United Kingdom

Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes

Post by Ruxs » March 23rd, 2013, 1:13 am

Why are all these snakes so colourful?

In all seriousness, though, this is one of the most amazing posts I've seen in a while.

I thought there could have been more habitat/scenery shots, but apart from that, this was brilliant!

Cheers,

Rupert

User avatar
Mark Brown
Posts: 567
Joined: June 8th, 2010, 1:15 am
Location: Austin, TX

Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes

Post by Mark Brown » March 23rd, 2013, 1:15 am

Tremendous post - you made my morning, especially with that photo of Lachesis in situ. That's got to be the experience of a lifetime. Well done! :thumb:

User avatar
DracoRJC
Posts: 335
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 2:15 pm
Location: The beautiful Texas Hill Country

Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes

Post by DracoRJC » March 23rd, 2013, 9:08 am

:thumb: Top. Notch.

User avatar
Will Wells
Posts: 275
Joined: June 18th, 2010, 4:32 am
Location: Arizona
Contact:

Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes

Post by Will Wells » March 24th, 2013, 5:07 am

Nice work, thanks for sharing!

User avatar
Jeroen Speybroeck
Posts: 818
Joined: June 29th, 2011, 12:56 am
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck » March 24th, 2013, 6:24 am

Spectacularly outstanding, like the preceding episodes, and those from last year as well! Let's see how we do in July... ;)

User avatar
Jeroen Speybroeck
Posts: 818
Joined: June 29th, 2011, 12:56 am
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck » March 24th, 2013, 6:24 am

x

condyle
Posts: 206
Joined: September 25th, 2010, 2:46 pm
Location: Santa Cruz ca

Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes

Post by condyle » March 24th, 2013, 12:06 pm

NICE!!!

Reptiluvr
Posts: 258
Joined: April 23rd, 2011, 6:49 pm

Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes

Post by Reptiluvr » March 25th, 2013, 4:28 am

There's not a single photo here to comment on. They're all incredible. Even some of your in-situ shots are great! The Bushmaster must have been exciting. Man that one is ugly and beat up looking. Or maybe just muddy. Looks like a successful and fun trip.

User avatar
reptilist
Posts: 653
Joined: June 8th, 2010, 8:30 am
Location: Clifton, Arizona

Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes

Post by reptilist » March 25th, 2013, 5:19 am

That was so great! Thanks!

jimoo742
Posts: 546
Joined: November 4th, 2010, 2:43 pm

Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes

Post by jimoo742 » March 25th, 2013, 5:55 am

My only snake find of the trip, glad I wasn't skunked!

Oh, and that bushmaster was incredible. Thank you Matt for capturing it. Something I wouldn't do. It has the most ridiculous scales.

User avatar
JakeScott
Posts: 689
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 4:26 pm
Location: Gainesville, FL
Contact:

Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes

Post by JakeScott » March 26th, 2013, 6:14 pm

Fantastical! I wish some of my photos came out as good as yours. Man, I'm still kicking myself on not seeing Siphlophus cervinus. I don't know how I missed it in the hut. Oh well, next time ;)

-Jake

jimoo742
Posts: 546
Joined: November 4th, 2010, 2:43 pm

Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes

Post by jimoo742 » March 27th, 2013, 3:52 am

I didn't see that one either. Ugh.

User avatar
Roki
Posts: 199
Joined: January 23rd, 2012, 10:08 am
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes

Post by Roki » March 28th, 2013, 10:07 am

Sweet post! I want to get down to Peru so bad! Thanks for the posts.

User avatar
intermedius
Posts: 481
Joined: March 22nd, 2012, 6:19 pm

Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes

Post by intermedius » March 28th, 2013, 6:24 pm

SO GOOD!

Your racer is Drymoluber dichourus :D

With 120 species, atractus identification is a [email protected]%*H :cry:

Hopefully they'll make a guide like they do for every frog genus. *cough cough* atelopus.

User avatar
Dell Despain
Posts: 542
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 7:08 pm
Location: Montana

Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes

Post by Dell Despain » March 29th, 2013, 6:20 pm

The Bushmaster is the cat's meow of course, but that black and orange Tree boa is sweet too.

As you know Matt, I've spent some time working in the Amazon basin and I've never found Anaconda to be easy to find either. I'd have people come back to the lodge talking about seeing Anaconda down the trail or up river sunning on the bank, I chase off in boat or boots to have a look and never find them. How big is the one in your photo?

Great post, thanks for taking the time to post it.

-Dell

dickbartlett
Posts: 72
Joined: June 25th, 2010, 10:32 am

Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes

Post by dickbartlett » March 30th, 2013, 5:04 am

A trio of great posts, Matt. Thanx for taking the time to put these together.
I'm not sure how, but I sure missed seeing many of the lizards and amphibs on the last get together. Guess I'll have to take one more trip down south to try to atone.

You were right though. It was a great gang of avid herpers. I enjoyed finally meeting several of the folks who until this trip were just names on a forum. To each and every one of them, many thanx from all of us. dick

User avatar
Jeroen Speybroeck
Posts: 818
Joined: June 29th, 2011, 12:56 am
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck » March 30th, 2013, 12:39 pm

You might like the size of this anaconda from Guyana =>
http://fieldherping.eu/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=1452

User avatar
justinm
Posts: 3430
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 4:26 am
Location: Illinois
Contact:

Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes

Post by justinm » March 30th, 2013, 5:06 pm

Every post has been a visual feast. I could comment on nearly every photo at how in awe I am of your photography skills. You have some remarkable snakes here, in this collection. This will be revisited again and again as fuel for me to get down there. Mike told me it was a pretty magical moment in his herping career. In fact in October he told me seeing a Northern Scarlet Snake in Missouri would probably be the best find of the next 5 years for him. I think the Bushmaster trumps that.

User avatar
Nigel Smith
Posts: 268
Joined: June 8th, 2010, 9:52 am
Location: Lexington Kentucky

Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes

Post by Nigel Smith » March 30th, 2013, 8:23 pm

Too many great photos of facinating snakes to mention. That bushmaster cleary tops the cake. Congrats on your successful trip! Thanks for sharing.

User avatar
Montivipera
Posts: 74
Joined: June 15th, 2010, 9:42 am
Location: Sweden

Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes

Post by Montivipera » March 31st, 2013, 11:13 am

Great finds! Congratulations to them and for a bunch of really good images.

Cheers!

User avatar
Dr. Dark
Posts: 380
Joined: June 8th, 2010, 3:39 pm
Location: Concord TWP, Ohio

Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes

Post by Dr. Dark » March 31st, 2013, 5:51 pm

FANTASTIC!!! The bushmaster is EPIC!

MNHERPER
Posts: 25
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 7:42 pm
Location: Twin Cities,MN

Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes

Post by MNHERPER » April 1st, 2013, 10:10 pm

Glad someone finally got around to posting this on the forum. Some spectacular photography Matt!! Glad to meet you as you are one of the coolest guys I've ever met!

User avatar
Mike Pingleton
Posts: 1472
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 6:45 am
Location: One of the boys from Illinois
Contact:

Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes

Post by Mike Pingleton » April 11th, 2013, 7:17 pm

Ah, so cool to see all those serpents again!

Good work Matt!

Matt Cage
Posts: 127
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 12:04 pm
Location: Denver, CO

Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes

Post by Matt Cage » April 12th, 2013, 12:06 pm

Thanks for everybody for the kinds words, it was a great trip.

Jeroen, hopefully you have a great time. I'm looking forward to hearing what you find!

Reptiluvr, Thanks for the comments, the Lachesis was not beat up, it was a bit muddy. I was not going to be the one who cleaned it up! The ground is pretty much muddy where exposed.

Jim, that was a spectacular find! It was great spending time with you, hope to meet up again sometime, somewhere!

Jake, There is a few things that I missed too, oh well. We'll see you down there again!

Dell, The Anaconda in the photo was about 4 feet long and pretty beat up. It was healthy but missing some scales and in need of a shed. They are all beautiful though.

Duane, it was great getting to know you. I hope you had a great time. I hope others post as well, hint, hint.

Thanks Mike!!

User avatar
Hans Breuer (twoton)
Posts: 3200
Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
Contact:

Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » September 13th, 2013, 4:33 am

I just read this post for the second time and realized that the first time around, the Buschmeister distracted me from the über-outlandish Oxyrhopus formosus. That's not a real animal, is it?

jimoo742
Posts: 546
Joined: November 4th, 2010, 2:43 pm

Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes

Post by jimoo742 » September 13th, 2013, 5:17 am

Indeed it was. Got several good photos of it.

I really hope to do this trip again as I'd like to do it different (less photo hut, more field photography).

Of course I also am aiming for Borneo in 14 months (a year from November), so I'm going to be hitting you up for advice!

You should really do this one, Hans. It is great. Matt C. and Mike P. weren't "official" guides on the trip I went, but they sure acted like it. So incredibly helpful and knowledgeable. I need to step up my game big time.

User avatar
Hans Breuer (twoton)
Posts: 3200
Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
Contact:

Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » September 13th, 2013, 10:42 pm

I hear y'all...

Gekkotan
Posts: 24
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 5:18 am

Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes

Post by Gekkotan » December 31st, 2013, 5:16 am

Nice! A little bit old topic, but I would like to ask where did you find the Helicops? Inside water I believe, but in river, stream or stagnant pool water? How did it behaves when you aproaches next to it? thanks

Matt Cage
Posts: 127
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 12:04 pm
Location: Denver, CO

Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes

Post by Matt Cage » January 3rd, 2014, 1:02 pm

I have found Helicops to be quite common in most waterways in the Amazon basin. I have found them in small creeks, large rivers, river edges, swimming in the open water in the larger waterways, and on the shore near water at night. That being said, if I wanted to target them, I would hit the water edge on mid sized waterways by boat at dusk.

User avatar
Daniel D Dye
Posts: 1223
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 3:56 pm
Location: New River (Brooker), Florida
Contact:

Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes

Post by Daniel D Dye » January 3rd, 2014, 9:57 pm

Awesome stuff. I retire in 2 or 3 years, Matt. Then I'll be making the trip with you. Something more to look forward too.

Daniel

Gekkotan
Posts: 24
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 5:18 am

Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes

Post by Gekkotan » January 5th, 2014, 6:23 am

Thanks Matt. I will also trip to catch them with fish traps. Let see if I get lucky. ;)

Post Reply