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 Post subject: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes
PostPosted: March 22nd, 2013, 4:12 pm 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 12:04 pm
Posts: 127
Location: Denver, CO
This is part 3 of 3 in a series. For part 1, visit here:
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=15446
For part 2, visit here:
viewtopic.php?f=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!
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Atractus collaris








Jim found this first one in the leaf litter along the long trail.
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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.
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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.
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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)
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A juvenile was found at Santa Cruz.
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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.
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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.
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Helicops angulatus
South American Banded Water Snake







This year, we came across what I believe to be H. yacu at Madre Selva.
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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.
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Oxyrhopus formosus
Yellow Headed Calico Snake







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Oxyrhopus melanogenys
Black Headed Calico Snake






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Oxyrhopus petolarius
Banded Calico Snake








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









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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!
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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!
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Imantodes lentiferus
Amazon Blunt Headed Tree Snake






We don’t find these every trip, so finding one was pretty exciting!
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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and the release:
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Lachesis muta
Bushmaster

Thanks to Marisa for this shot!
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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!


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 Post subject: Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes
PostPosted: March 22nd, 2013, 10:28 pm 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
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Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
All that splendor, AND a Buschmeister, AND all presented with very nice photography. THANK YOU.


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 Post subject: Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes
PostPosted: March 22nd, 2013, 11:06 pm 
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Outstanding. That Bushmaster gets around :lol:

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


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 Post subject: Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes
PostPosted: March 23rd, 2013, 12:13 am 
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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.


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 Post subject: Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes
PostPosted: March 23rd, 2013, 1:07 am 
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Joined: June 11th, 2010, 10:19 am
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Location: Jyväskylä, Finland
Fantastic set of posts.


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 Post subject: Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes
PostPosted: March 23rd, 2013, 1:13 am 
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Joined: November 23rd, 2011, 8:26 am
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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


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 Post subject: Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes
PostPosted: March 23rd, 2013, 1:15 am 
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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:


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 Post subject: Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes
PostPosted: March 23rd, 2013, 9:08 am 
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Location: The beautiful Texas Hill Country
:thumb: Top. Notch.


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 Post subject: Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes
PostPosted: March 24th, 2013, 5:07 am 
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Nice work, thanks for sharing!


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 Post subject: Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes
PostPosted: March 24th, 2013, 6:24 am 
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Spectacularly outstanding, like the preceding episodes, and those from last year as well! Let's see how we do in July... ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes
PostPosted: March 24th, 2013, 6:24 am 
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x


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 Post subject: Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes
PostPosted: March 24th, 2013, 12:06 pm 

Joined: September 25th, 2010, 2:46 pm
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NICE!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes
PostPosted: March 25th, 2013, 4:28 am 

Joined: April 23rd, 2011, 6:49 pm
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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.


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 Post subject: Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes
PostPosted: March 25th, 2013, 5:19 am 
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That was so great! Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes
PostPosted: March 25th, 2013, 5:55 am 

Joined: November 4th, 2010, 2:43 pm
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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.


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 Post subject: Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes
PostPosted: March 26th, 2013, 6:14 pm 
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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


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 Post subject: Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes
PostPosted: March 27th, 2013, 3:52 am 

Joined: November 4th, 2010, 2:43 pm
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I didn't see that one either. Ugh.


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 Post subject: Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes
PostPosted: March 28th, 2013, 10:07 am 
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Sweet post! I want to get down to Peru so bad! Thanks for the posts.


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 Post subject: Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes
PostPosted: March 28th, 2013, 6:24 pm 
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Joined: March 22nd, 2012, 6:19 pm
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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.


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 Post subject: Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes
PostPosted: March 29th, 2013, 6:20 pm 
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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


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 Post subject: Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes
PostPosted: March 30th, 2013, 5:04 am 

Joined: June 25th, 2010, 10:32 am
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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


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 Post subject: Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes
PostPosted: March 30th, 2013, 12:39 pm 
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You might like the size of this anaconda from Guyana =>
http://fieldherping.eu/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=1452


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 Post subject: Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes
PostPosted: March 30th, 2013, 5:06 pm 
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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.


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 Post subject: Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes
PostPosted: March 30th, 2013, 8:23 pm 
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Too many great photos of facinating snakes to mention. That bushmaster cleary tops the cake. Congrats on your successful trip! Thanks for sharing.


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 Post subject: Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes
PostPosted: March 31st, 2013, 11:13 am 
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Great finds! Congratulations to them and for a bunch of really good images.

Cheers!


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 Post subject: Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes
PostPosted: March 31st, 2013, 5:51 pm 
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FANTASTIC!!! The bushmaster is EPIC!


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 Post subject: Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes
PostPosted: April 1st, 2013, 10:10 pm 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 7:42 pm
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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!


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 Post subject: Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes
PostPosted: April 11th, 2013, 7:17 pm 
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Ah, so cool to see all those serpents again!

Good work Matt!


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 Post subject: Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes
PostPosted: April 12th, 2013, 12:06 pm 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 12:04 pm
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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!!


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 Post subject: Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes
PostPosted: September 13th, 2013, 4:33 am 
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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?


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 Post subject: Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes
PostPosted: September 13th, 2013, 5:17 am 

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


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 Post subject: Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes
PostPosted: September 13th, 2013, 10:42 pm 
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I hear y'all...


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 Post subject: Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes
PostPosted: December 31st, 2013, 5:16 am 

Joined: May 6th, 2011, 5:18 am
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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


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 Post subject: Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes
PostPosted: January 3rd, 2014, 1:02 pm 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 12:04 pm
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Location: Denver, CO
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.


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 Post subject: Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes
PostPosted: January 3rd, 2014, 9:57 pm 
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Location: New River (Brooker), Florida
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


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 Post subject: Re: Peruvian Amazon Part 3, Snakes
PostPosted: January 5th, 2014, 6:23 am 

Joined: May 6th, 2011, 5:18 am
Posts: 24
Thanks Matt. I will also trip to catch them with fish traps. Let see if I get lucky. ;)


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