Imantodes cenchoa — Common Blunt-headed Tree Snake
Also known as:
Blunt-headed Tree Snake, Blunthead Tree Snake, Common Blunthead Tree Snake, Chunk-headed Toad Snake
Pook's Hill, Belmopan, Belize—April 11, 1998
I found this small snake by flashlight on a night walk through the rainforest around Pook's Hill lodge. It was spread out across the surface of a single large leaf. My silly little point-and-shoot did not have a flash strong enough to capture the image, but I did get this super craptastic picture of someone shining their flashlight on someone else who lifted the snake from the leaf. Nice, eh?
These snakes specialize in snacking on sleeping lizards, and we were lucky to stumble across this one just as it was starting to devour a hapless Anolis trachyderma. It finished its meal intently, paying no attention to the nearby people and cameras.
Here's one more Imantodes cenchoa that was keeping an eye out for tasty sleeping lizards around the pond at the Santa Cruz field station.
These are three of the six Imantodes cenchoa that our group found in one night, along with five other snakes. I was suspicious that the first one might be Imantodes lentiferus instead, but Dick Bartlett set me straight.
Panama had been in an unusually dry season when we spent a night hiking on Pipeline Road looking for nocturnal critters. We saw only one snake, this slender, bug-eyed Imantodes.
These slender snakes have extremely strong muscles that enable them to stretch remarkable distances from one branch to another. You can see in this photo how casually the snake holds much of its body in midair.
Most of the Imantodes I've seen at night have been on the (very slow) move, prowling around for tasty lizard snacks. This one hadn't uncurled from its daytime sleeping position yet, probably because it was still sopping wet from a big ol' tropical rainstorm. This was Imantodes cenchoa number twenty-one for me in three trips to Peru.
For some reason we did not find the usual plethora of Imantodes this year, but at least we weren't skunked.
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