Ithycyphus perineti Perinet Night Snake
Also known as:
Fandrefiala Snake
Chez Arol grounds, Masoala National Park, Toamasina province, MadagascarMay 1, 2007
Perinet Night Snake (Ithycyphus perineti) Perinet Night Snake (Ithycyphus perineti) Perinet Night Snake (Ithycyphus perineti)
Returning to our bungalows at Chez Arol after a long morning hike, we were ready for a hearty lunch. We took turns washing up in the bathroom of my sister Mary's bungalow. I went last, and after cleaning some of the morning mud off of my hands and arms, I turned around to notice this charming fellow draped over the top of the wall separating the bathroom from the main room. Mary took the photograph of me grinning like an idiot as I show her and Monica what they had been missing. (Did I mention that there are no venomous snakes in Madagascar?)

Unfortunately, this snake was not at all interested in posing for my camera afterwards. I managed to get the one head-and-forebody shot above that looks a little bit natural, until you see how my sister was holding the snake at the time to enable my photo. When released a few minutes later, it disappeared quickly under the leaf litter outside of the bungalow.

This snake has some wonderful legends associated with it. It seems that the local people fear it due to its unusual coloration. The front of the body is yellowish, and the rear and tail are burgundy/red. This somehow has led people to believe that it hangs from trees tail-first, then falls to impale humans on its tail. Before doing so, though, it chooses to warn its victims by dropping a particular number of leaves — some say three, some say seven — before making the plunge.

Here is a list of all the reptiles and frogs I saw on this 2007 trip to Madagascar.

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