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Snakes...again

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  • Janet Blakeley
    Bob, I don´t want to get into an argument with you on-list, but your information could be dangerous to people. I presume you couldn´t read the Spanish, so
    Message 1 of 13 , Jan 24, 2006
      Bob,

      I don´t want to get into an argument with you on-list, but your information could be dangerous to people. I presume you couldn´t read the Spanish, so here´s something from a site in English:

      The family Elapidae is comprised of the coral snake species. There are four known different coral snake species in Costa Rica and they include Allen's coral snake (Micrurus alleni), Central American coral snake (Micrurus nigrocinctus), bicolored coral snake (Micrurus multifasciatus), and Clark's coral snake (Micrurus clarki). All of these coral snakes belong to the genera Micrurus. The other genera, Micruroides are not found in Central America. All of these coral snakes are highly venomous, and brightly colored with bright bands of red, black, and yellow or white. These snakes have small heads and blunt tails which allows them to maneuver easily around the leaf litter and rocky regions. The two most common species of coral snakes that you may be likely to see is the Allen's coral snake and the American coral snake. The bicolored coral snake is uncommon, and the Micrurus clarki is extremely rare. Allen's coral snake is a tricolored, black, yellow or white, and red ringed snake. The black of the head projects behind over the adjacent yellow band as a narrow marking at its mid-dorsum region. Allen's coral snake can be distinguished from the bicolored coral snake because the bicolored has more than 40 black bands, and Allen's has 26 or fewer. Allen's coral snake is found in deep forests under ground cover where it may be seen during daylight hours, as well as evening hours. It usually occurs in wet lowland forests and along riverbanks. Its diet consists of lizards, skinks, snakes, mammals, and possibly eels (Russell pp.1475). Its range is mostly along the eastern coast of Costa Rica.
      The bicolored coral snake, which is also known as the coralilla or rabo de aji snake, is a long slender bicolored coral snake with red and black rings; the black rings are usually wider than the red however. Juveniles of the species seem to be more brightly colored than adults and some adults may exhibit black or white except for the endpoint of the tail. The bicolored coral snake is usually found in moist and lowland rain forests between 100 and 1700 m. This snake is often commonly found around human habitations (Russell pp.1476).
      Another coral snake member, the Central American coral snake is probably the most common coral snake that is found in Central America. In general these snakes are tricolored, however in some of the six sub-species of this species they may be bicolored. The snake is made of yellow, black and some red bands. There may be anywhere from ten to 29 black rings, and three to eight black bands on the tail. This snake is found up to 1500 m in lowland forest but is also known from near the seashore. Its diet consists of snakes, lizards, skinks and birds.
      In general the identification of coral snakes in Costa Rica is often difficult because of many variations and sub-species of each species. An often-used saying when dealing with coral snakes is "red on yellow, kill a fellow; red on black that's OK jack." This however is not an applicable guideline to follow when dealing with Costa Rica's coral snakes.
      http://jrscience.wcp.muohio.edu/fieldcourses01/TropEcoCostaRicaArticles/NEWFINAL.VenomousSnakesFo.html

      This isn´t the only place I have seen this, but it was fast.
      Janet

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • barrystevens2001
      ... Suggestion - unless you re a specialist in identification, treat them all as dangerous. While you re busy counting rings, matching colors, trying to
      Message 2 of 13 , Jan 24, 2006
        --- In CostaRicaLiving@yahoogroups.com, Janet Blakeley
        <courtney@r...> wrote:
        >
        > ...so here´s something from a site in English:
        >
        > The family Elapidae ...

        Suggestion - unless you're a specialist in identification, treat
        them all as dangerous. While you're busy counting rings, matching
        colors, trying to remember which latin genus name is venomous, and
        in general being a smart-alek, you could find yourself on your way
        to a hospital. If, that is, you make it in time. Some of these
        little beauties have remarkably fast acting poison. And, even though
        it's true that if you're bitten by one of the slow ones, you're in
        luck! I find this to be the kind of decision that's hazardous to
        one's health.

        In the jungle here, they're all dangerous. No little plastic cards
        are needed for ID - stun them all with a long stick, and move them
        on out to the jungle. Kill them if you must, but don't bother to
        distinguish between them. You won't have the time.

        We've had a coral snake here, with absolutely gorgeous colors. We've
        also had 14 terciopelos, including one that came in through a hole
        through which a water pipe was being installed. He took up residence
        in our shower, and dropped down onto the floor, doing a great job of
        stunning himself, which made disposal easy.

        I know the environmentally correct way of handling things - I came
        from the same public-relations media environment. I not-so-
        respectfully suggest that the "conventional wisdom" is full of S*&T -
        in this case at least. I've seen the environmentally correct
        approach kill people.

        Don't mess with them.

        It's great in Los Angeles, or even perhaps in Escazu, but it doesn't
        work "in the wild."

        B
        B
      • Scott Bidstrup
        ... exactly what I said. Every picture of a coral snake had the red stripes touching the yellow and every picture of the false coral had the red touching
        Message 3 of 13 , Jan 24, 2006
          >I visited the site you sent in this post and all ot does is verify
          exactly what I said. Every picture of a coral snake had the red
          stripes touching the yellow and every picture of the false coral had
          the red touching the black, even the one that only had two colors (red
          & black).

          I have to agree with Janet.

          I have a copy of "A Guide To Amphibians And Reptiles Of Costa Rica," by
          Twan Leenders (ISBN 0970567804).

          Plate 79 shows an excellent photograph of "Allen's Coral Snake"
          (Micrurus alleni), showing and the coloration is broad red bands, next
          to narrow yellow bands, next to medium width black bands, next to
          yellow, next to red, and repeated.

          Plate 80 shows an excellent photograph of the "Central American Coral
          Snake" (Micrurus nigrocinctus), with the same band pattern as above.

          Plate 67 shows an excellent photograph of the "False Coral Snake"
          (Eythrolamprus mimus), with an IDENTICAL band sequence to the above.
          The only noticable difference is that the scales in the center of the
          black bands are somewhat faded. While this snake can cause painful
          bites, they are not lethal.

          In his description of the False Coral Snake, the author states rather
          ominously:

          "Of the MANY (emph. added) Costa Rican snakes that resemble venemous
          coral snakes (genus Micrurus), this is probably the most convincing
          mimic... Both types of snakes are secretive, forest floor inhabitants
          that are most active under low light conditions and both hunt for the
          same type of prey... The false coral snake has also adopted the
          characteristic defensive behavior of true coral snakes..."

          Hence, Janet is right - any snake with similar coloration in Costa Rica
          should be treated with considerable respect. Thinking you've got a
          mimic when you're really dealing with a coral snake could cost you your
          life. Don't take the chance. Treat it with caution!

          Scott
        • Rayburn Corder
          In my opinion, it may be possible that you are incorrect also. I have attached a document directly to you with what I have found and in fact one of the
          Message 4 of 13 , Jan 25, 2006
            In my opinion, it may be possible that you are incorrect also. I have attached a document directly to you with what I have found and in fact one of the pictures is from the Reference book you mention and while the false Eythrolamprus does resemble the Micrurus alleni, the red is NOT touching the black and in no case am I able to find ANY coral snake or false coral snake where the red is touching the black and the the snake is considered venomous. This tells me that the poem holds true and that Red on Black is a friend of Jack whereas Red on Yellow will kill a fellow and in the case of the Micrurus alleni and it's false look alike it still holds true except these two have a white stripe instead of yellow and if I avoid ALL corals where the Red touches white (or yellow), then that will in effect keep me from harm (although one of them is harmless anyway).

            Rayburn


            Scott Bidstrup <scott@...> wrote:
            I have to agree with Janet.
            Twan Leenders (ISBN 0970567804).



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            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Leo
            Personally, I think this snake war stuff will work itself out in the end. Having spent a lot of time (that means a number that can be counted in years) in
            Message 5 of 13 , Jan 26, 2006
              Personally, I think this snake war stuff will work itself out in the
              end. Having spent a lot of time (that means a number that can be
              counted in years) in some VERY remote parts of Central America, I
              have had some experience with extranjeros who show up claiming to
              know everything about something only to wind up as meat occupying
              stretcher space on a dustoff back to civilization. It's unfortunate
              sometimes that because of their insistence on their own correctness
              that other folks may be hurt, but then that also serves as a good
              reminder that if someone touts themselves as an expert down here,
              it's a good sign they really don't know too much and it's best to
              give them a wide berth.

              Oh Yeah, one other thing. About the difference between chicken bones
              and those of the buitre. The buitre has longer leg bones and the
              meat is more of a reddish color. They do make decent stock though
              just put in a LOT of culantro, cook over a very smoky wood fire and
              don't let anyone know. Best to pick out and throw away the bones and
              meat before adding the chicken pieces. I have seen people toss their
              cookies when they realized what they had been eating.

              Silly humans.

              Leo
            • John
              The fact is, I don t care what color a snake is. If I m walking in the wild and see a snake, no matter what the color is, I m just going to turn around and
              Message 6 of 13 , Jan 26, 2006
                The fact is, I don't care what color a snake is. If I'm walking in the
                wild and see a snake, no matter what the color is, I'm just going to
                turn around and walk the other way. If it's really close, I'll try to
                club it with a stick. I always carry a stick of some kind when I'm
                hiking in the country. As far as dangerous wildlife is concerned, I'm
                perfectly willing to "shoot first and ask questions later."
              • Fred Morgan
                Regarding hitting a snake with a stick. If it is a fer-de-lance and you attempt to hit it, make sure you don t miss. If you throw a rock at one for example, it
                Message 7 of 13 , Jan 27, 2006
                  Regarding hitting a snake with a stick. If it is a fer-de-lance and you
                  attempt to hit it, make sure you don't miss. If you throw a rock at one
                  for example, it will come at you. I have seen it.

                  Oh, and look for the second one. The larger ones tend to travel in pairs.

                  Unless it is coming at you - it is best to NOT attack a poisonous snake.
                  They do know they are dangerous. Normally, their prey ISN'T humans - you
                  are too big, and biting you is a waste of venom which could be used on
                  their intended prey.

                  Hector, who works in the fincas all the time has always told me the best
                  thing is to leave them alone - and stay away from the rivers at dusk.
                • Seale Y
                  ... (Eythrolamprus mimus), with an IDENTICAL band sequence to the above. The only noticable difference is that the scales in the center of the black bands are
                  Message 8 of 13 , Jan 30, 2006
                    >Plate 67 shows an excellent photograph of the "False Coral Snake"
                    (Eythrolamprus mimus), with an IDENTICAL band sequence to the above.
                    The only noticable difference is that the scales in the center of the
                    black bands are somewhat faded. While this snake can cause painful
                    bites, they are not lethal.<

                    The noticeable difference to me is that on the false coral snake the bands
                    are not equally circular the full width of the snake. By that I mean black
                    meets red or red/yellow instead of black meeting black.

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                  • DanTheMan
                    Red and black, friend of Jack. (False Coral Snake) Red and yellow, dead fellow. (Coral Snake) Of course, if I ever saw either one of these, I wouldn t
                    Message 9 of 13 , Jan 31, 2006
                      "Red and black, friend of Jack." (False Coral Snake)
                      "Red and yellow, dead fellow." (Coral Snake)

                      Of course, if I ever saw either one of these, I wouldn't be around long enough to see the difference.

                      dm




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                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Fred Morgan
                      Snake that flees - friend of me Snake that attacks - is dead, Jack! And even color-blind people can use that one!
                      Message 10 of 13 , Jan 31, 2006
                        Snake that flees - friend of me
                        Snake that attacks - is dead, Jack!

                        And even color-blind people can use that one!
                      • bobsgl@adelphia.net
                        EDITED TO REMOVE PIGGYBACKED MESSAGE. Please DELETE prior message before submitting. Thanks. Hi, I am planning to become a Pensionado later this year and
                        Message 11 of 13 , Feb 1, 2006
                          EDITED TO REMOVE PIGGYBACKED MESSAGE. Please DELETE prior message before submitting. Thanks.

                          Hi,

                          I am planning to become a Pensionado later this year and have joined CRL for that purpose.

                          I have noticed several exchanges concerning snakes in CR which interest me as I have been a hobbyist and amateur herpatologist since I was a teenager. I would like to know if there are any such clubs or organizations in CR. I would also like to get correspondence from anyone in CR who also has such interests.

                          Regards,

                          Bob Siegel
                        • Paul Mitchell
                          ... such clubs or organizations in CR. ... ~^~^~^~ Hi again Bob, There are several serpentaria in CR. There s one in San José and another west of SJ -on the
                          Message 12 of 13 , Feb 1, 2006
                            --- bobsgl@a... wrote:
                            >
                            > [snip] I would like to know if there are any
                            such clubs or organizations in CR.
                            >
                            ~^~^~^~
                            Hi again Bob,

                            There are several serpentaria in CR. There's one in
                            San José and another west of SJ -on the way to Grecia,
                            I think. You will be able to get directions to them
                            easily after you are in CR.

                            There are also at least a few people on this list
                            who seem to have an interest in snakes -or at
                            least in the fauna of CR. Perhaps they will respond
                            here to you.

                            Also, take a look in the 'photos' link on the left-hand
                            sidebar on the main page for the group online. Once
                            there check out Berni's Bugs where he has posted
                            a lot of nature pix, including, I think, a couple of snakes.

                            There are IIRC one or two other snake photos among
                            the other albums there.

                            Hope this helps...

                            Paul M.
                            [ six weeks and counting 'til VT time... ]
                            ==
                          • bobsgl@adelphia.net
                            Hi Paul, We are connecting with each other. Thanks for the information on snakes. I am actually interested in all types of tropical fauna in addition to
                            Message 13 of 13 , Feb 1, 2006
                              Hi Paul,

                              We are connecting with each other. Thanks for the information on snakes. I am actually interested in all types of tropical fauna in addition to snakes. Thanks for your help.

                              I have emailed the Vida Tropical about my reservations using you as a having recommended it to me. I hope that's OK with you. If not available, can you recommend any other low priced B&B I can use as a central post while I scout out the various towns as I have previously explained.

                              Thanks again.

                              Best regards,

                              Bob Siegel
                              ---- Paul Mitchell <StanHopi@...> wrote:
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