At the start of every spring season, the little creatures that we don’t see in the winter time start to make their appearances. One of my favorite little scaled critters is the Boomslang – in my opinion one of the most beautiful and majestic of the snake family.
The average adult Boomslang is 100–160 cm (3¼-5¼ feet) in total length, but some exceed 183 cm (6 feet). The eyes are exceptionally large, and the head has a characteristic egg-like shape. Colouration is very variable – males are light green with black or blue scale edges, but adult females may be brown.
Our male is quite a handsome fellow and watches everybody from the crevice of a tree, with his characteristic big eyes, focusing on all the guests’ movements below. Most people will stand underneath him, and are in awe of his bright green colouration. Every now and again, he’ll move from his secret spot, and move easily through the branches of the trees around him.
Boomslangs are diurnal and almost exclusively arboreal. They are reclusive, and will flee from anything too large to eat. Their diet includes chameleons and other arboreal lizards, frogs, and occasionally small mammals, birds, and eggs from nesting birds, all of which they swallow whole. During cool weather, they will hibernate for moderate periods, often curling up inside the enclosed nests of birds such as weavers.
Guests are always in awe when you point him out, digging out their cameras like the paparazzi. The green scaled fellow has quite a following and must feel quite popular with all those camera flashes! Whilst most people ask many questions, the one that always comes up is how venomous these creatures are. While only around a few snakes are actually venomous, only around 1% of people die from snake bites every year. This is because snakes don’t usually bite people, rather trying the more subtle “mock” strike to warn off someone who is about to step on their tails. If the person still decides to try their luck, then they will bite the person, but only administering a small amount of venom – not enough to actually kill anyone.
Guests always appreciate the smaller creatures just as much as the larger ones. Sometimes more so than the bigger ones it seems…
Story by Angie (River Lodge)