Need help to ID a snake from snake skin

Discussion in 'Reptile and Amphibian Identification' started by spiros, Feb 5, 2014.

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  1. spiros

    spiros New Member

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    Hi,


    I've just found a snake skin wedged between brick and weather boards under our main bedroom window. The skin is in two pieces and is just over 1 mtr long.


    I've tried to id it from scales using arod website but that search came up empty.
    I'm not a snake person and found it quite difficult to count the scales etc.
    This is what I came up with but not sure how accurate it is
    Anal Scale: divided but found it difficult to tell
    Number of dorsal scale rows at mid-body: 12 or 13
    Number of ventral scales: 209
    Number of sub-caudal scales: 140
    Subcaudals are (mostly or entirely): Single
    Location: Aspley, Brisbane northside


    Attached are photos

    Any help much appreciated.
    Thanks in advance
     

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  2. ryanbichel

    ryanbichel Not so new Member

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    looks like a brown or keel back due to the colouration.
     
  3. Bushman

    Bushman Very Well-Known Member

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    The colouration of sloughs is not a reliable indicator of species imo, pattern sometimes is but the colour of sloughs isn't. There are no keels on the scales, so it can't be a keelback.

    Recount the midbody scales, as I doubt that 12-13 is correct.
    Can you post a pic of the ventrals?
     
  4. Stuart

    Stuart Site Admin Staff Member

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    Based on the head scales, the spacing between the scales along the body and the slim nature of the slough, I would suggest you are dealing with a Boiga irregularis - Brown Tree Snake. Could you advise if you have a fair bit of tree cover around your home?
     
  5. TrueBlue

    TrueBlue Very Well-Known Member

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    Brown Tree for sure by the looks of the skin.
     
  6. Bushman

    Bushman Very Well-Known Member

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    I eliminated Boiga irregularis due to the subcaudals reportedly being single and I couldn't see an enlarged hexagon-shaped vertebral row of scales (although this last feature may be hidden from view).
     
  7. spiros

    spiros New Member

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    The skin is split around the area I'm trying to count so its quite difficult. I still get around 11 to 13.

    Roughly how many should there be?

    Here are additional pics, the white things is a pen top I put inside as the skin curls up otherwise

    - - - Updated - - -

    Small back yard with no grass (concrete and gravel), some bathtubs on the gravel with veggies growing in them, tin garden shed, swimming pool and some golden cane palms on far side of pool at property boundary. Neighbour at back has one reasonable size tree but apart from that no much else around the back of the house.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Some more photos
     

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  8. Bushman

    Bushman Very Well-Known Member

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    Most elapids (which I strongly suspect the owner of this slough is) usually have more midbody scales than 11-13.
    If the slough is split then perhaps it's best not to use this feature to go on.
     
  9. spiros

    spiros New Member

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    I'll do another count this evening when my wife gets home as my eye sight is not great even with glasses.
     
  10. Bushman

    Bushman Very Well-Known Member

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    OK, that's a good idea, as the current scale counts don't seem right to me.
    Double check that the subcaudals are single and look for a loreal scale, which is a distinguishing characteristic of colubrids.
     
  11. Amynickid

    Amynickid Not so new Member

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    i say a tree snake, common tree snake. mildly venomous.
     
  12. spiros

    spiros New Member

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    My wife and I have gone over things carefully and my wife gets 13 dorsal scales counting across and also diagonally.
    The subcaudal scales although hard to tell at times seem to be all divided. We are unable to determine anal scale.

    Does that help with determining what sort it is?
     
  13. saratoga

    saratoga Well-Known Member

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    Second set of photos... the one on the far left; the ventrals show a clear angled edge which helps in climbing – ....tree snake

    First set of photos... blue shot of head: have a look at the size of the eyes and perhaps the width of the head (although this may be squashed a bit)

    First set of photos...first photo: obviously a very long and slender snake

    My best guess is a Brown Tree Snake
     
  14. $NaKe PiMp

    $NaKe PiMp Very Well-Known Member

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    Head scalation looks to be Brown Tree Snake
     
  15. Demansiaphile

    Demansiaphile Not so new Member

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    It's a BTS.
    Look at the head shape, the protruding eyes.
    If the scale diagnosis doesn't key out to Boiga then it's a freak of nature one off, or much more likely you've made a mistake.
    Boiga for sure. Very common around the East Coast.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 6, 2014
  16. spiros

    spiros New Member

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    We're snake rookies (in case that wasn't obvious) so quite possible we messed up the count and id of scales.
    Consensus and reasoning all points to brown tree snake so we'll go with that.

    Many thanks to everyone for their assistance and diagnosis.
     
  17. Bluetongue1

    Bluetongue1 Guest

    The relative size of the eyes limits the possible contenders straight off. At a metre long slough, even allowing for stretching, it is not a baby snake and the slough was very thin. As Saratoga pointed out, the angled edge either side of the ventrals is indicative of climbing.

    The initial scale counts provided eliminate the Brown Tree Snake (and Whips and other elapids). It fitted the Common Tree Snake with the exception of the subcaudals – which you said were “mostly or entirely single”. Your revised appraisal (with the help of your wife) has them as divided. This now fits 100% for a CTS.

    Amynickid... you got it. Two thumbs up!

    A shot of a the head shields of a CTS and a head slough, compared to what was provided.
    CTS head shot & slough.jpg

    It is worth noting that the head shields on the BTS are all but identical to those on the CTS...
    BTS head sheilds.JPG


    Blue
     

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    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 7, 2014
  18. Bushman

    Bushman Very Well-Known Member

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    I agree with the positive ID of Green/Common Tree Snake (Dendrelaphis punctulata).
    After further correspondence and close examination of more photos provided by Spiros, I'm now convinced that it's Dendrelaphis punctulata beyond all doubt. Critical to this was establishing the presence of a loreal scale. The very large eyes narrowed it down to the tree snakes.

    The scale counts indicate D. punctulata, most notably the mid-body scale rows of 13, which is typical of D. punctulata, as opposed to 19-23 in Boiga irregularis.
    The anal scale is another key difference, being divided in Dendrelaphis and single in Boiga.
    The ventral scale count of 207 also falls into the range of D. punctulata i.e 180-230, as opposed to 225-265 in B. irregularis.

    Although colour is not usually all that reliable, the slough shows that the dorsal colouration is considerably darker dorsally, which is often a feature of the Common Tree Snake but not to the same degree in the Brown Tree Snake. As Blue mentions, the head scales are very similar, especially dorsally. However, there is one significant difference that I've found between the two species. i.e the temporal scales in CTS are large and plate-like as opposed to more fragmented and numerous in BTS. I'll try and post some pics up to illustrate what I'm talking about.
    The pics of the slough have the temporal scales of a Common Tree Snake.
     
  19. spiros

    spiros New Member

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    Again many thanks and especially to Bushman who didn't stop the analysis until it was proven beyond doubt.
    I've certainly learnt a lot in the past couple of days and my wife and I certainly feels much better knowing that it's a CTS
    Cheers and thanks to all
     
  20. Bluetongue1

    Bluetongue1 Guest

    Well done Bushman. I was wondering if anyone would pick up on that. Here is a couple of clear pics where you can seethe difference. The temporal scales are the enlarged scales below the parietal and directly behind the scales surrounding the back of the eye. They are named according to how many rows back they occur.
    CtS temporal scales.JPG BTS temporal scales.JPG

    After reading the initial post and making my ID I had was going to query the subcaudals being single – as I believed this was a mistake, perhaps even an error in typing the wrong word. Unfortunately my computer decided to be non-functional for two days (and is still dodgy). So the reviewed scale count just firmed what I thought.

    I felt like I could also identify a loreal scale but I have come unstuck on previous occasions with respect to attempting to extract fine detail from a less that perfect image. With accurate scale counts it was not needed. Examination of the head scales simply reaffirmed the conclusion.

    Blue
     
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