Tete , Northern Mozambique

Accounts and photos of non-captive reptiles in their natural habitat outside of South Africa. Try to record with your account details such as time of day/night, temperature, weather conditions, lunar cycle, sex, rough age of reptile, and so on.

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Re: Tete , Northern Mozambique

Postby Jamster » Wed May 29, 2013 12:32 pm

That does not seem to be A.bibroni. A.bibronis fangs are a lot larger than that. Those are back fangs similar to those found in black snake and purple glossed snakes? I may be wrong but it looks like a purple glossed snakes of some kind. The A.bibroni I have worked with were also far thinner.
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Re: Tete , Northern Mozambique

Postby Sico » Wed May 29, 2013 5:00 pm

Thanks for that correction Jamster. It was rather confusing as to why it was so substantially thicker than the previous A. bibronii I am familiar with. Unfortunately the tail end was not to be found which makes scale counts for ID somewhat more difficult. I do agree with you that it does look like an Amblyodipsas sp, of which I see there are three recorded in Mozambique, unfortunately I cannot differentiate which one it is based on the literature I have found.
One of the surveyors pointed out a small snake that had been flattened sometime either late yesterday or early this morning before I got out there. It wasn't completely dessicated, but was stiffening a little. I am not sure what it is, possibly a juvenile Amblyodipsas, although the interesting scale on the front of the head might suggest a Xenocalamus sp. I am not sure whether that is an "egg tooth" or whether it is actually scale. Sorry about the poor condition of the specimen in the pictures. Any help would be appreciated. I have kept the whole specimen as well.
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Re: Tete , Northern Mozambique

Postby Westley Price » Wed May 29, 2013 6:31 pm

Definitely some kind of Prosymna.

I would venture a guess to P. stuhlmannii or P. sundevalli lineata.
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Re: Tete , Northern Mozambique

Postby Sico » Wed May 29, 2013 6:44 pm

Thanks Westley, no idea why I didn't consider those. Need to find the box with all the books in :D
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Re: Tete , Northern Mozambique

Postby Westley Price » Wed May 29, 2013 6:48 pm

I've still super jealous.

Even if the reptiles are being killed, at least someone is there to appreciate the species and collect samples instead of them going to waste.
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Re: Tete , Northern Mozambique

Postby Sico » Wed May 29, 2013 8:55 pm

Westley, looking up some images, I would go with Prosymna stuhlmannii, East african shovel snout. Thanks again.
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Re: Tete , Northern Mozambique

Postby Sico » Thu May 30, 2013 10:09 pm

Working through some horrendous sand today one of the machines turned out a few scorpions, some species of Buthid
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and this skink which I think is Lygosoma sundevallii sundevallii
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I was hoping that there would be more fossorial species found as we moved a significant amount of sand for about half a kilometer ending up in a nice flood plain thick with grass on top of it. Surprisingly nothing much turned out except a LOT of P. edulis, (mostly young from last season) and these weren't even close to the water, they were way up near the top of the valley some distance away from the nice clay soil, buried all over in the sand. Thankfully with the sand being so soft, only one out of the lot was injured, and the rest I relocated into the bush well off the reservation. It's the labourer's pay day tomorroow so we only work a half day, and then have the full weekend off.
I don't expect to find much in the morning, but I do plan on going to mess around in the Zambezi and Rovubwe rivers in search of all these man-eating crocs 'round these parts (True story, they eat literally dozens of locals every year, but it's pretty much an accepted risk you take up here), and on Sunday a couple of us are planning to check out Cahora Bassa dam, hopefully some more pics to come before this trip ends.
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Re: Tete , Northern Mozambique

Postby Quintin » Fri May 31, 2013 8:38 am

Great thread Sico..... I REALLY HOPE you have a rod and reel, to bash some nice big tiger fish!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ;)
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Re: Tete , Northern Mozambique

Postby Sico » Thu Jun 06, 2013 3:42 pm

My last day on site didn't turn up much other than a pair of these rodents
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After we finished work we took a drive up the Zambezi to see if we could find anything interesting. Near the river there is a flood plain with literally hundreds of Baobab trees on it. Some of them were really interesting specimens, almost all of them massive. One of them had a hollow trunk, and I went to have a look see what I could find inside, to be pleasantly surprised by a Barn Owl
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When we eventually got out to the river, we found a point where the locals collect water and do washing. One of the mines also collects water here for their trucks, and they have constructed some cages which sit in the water with the open end facing the shore, to safely allow the locals to get water and do washing without becoming croc food. (perhaps a solution for the croc problem mentioned in another recent post on this forum)
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Sunset from Cafe Del Rio in Tete
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On Sunday we took a drive up to Cahora Bassa to see the dam. I have to say although the body of water behind it is massive (56 cubic kilometers!) the wall itself isn't much to see as far as dams go.
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That wraps up this trip. I should be due back on site in a little under a month from now, and if I do return (there is the chance I may go to another interesting site elsewhere in Africa) I do hope to add to this with some more good herping finds.
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Re: Tete , Northern Mozambique

Postby froot » Fri Jun 07, 2013 9:18 am

I've always wondered about that region, from landscape to critters. You've now filled a few gaps in my mind with your account and really enjoyed it. Thanks Sico.
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Re: Tete , Northern Mozambique

Postby BOOGY » Sun Jun 16, 2013 6:32 pm

Ahh man it looks like a super adventure. Super jealous.
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Re: Tete , Northern Mozambique

Postby Sico » Mon Jul 01, 2013 8:14 pm

Got back on site today. There were some snake sightings whilst I was in SA, my back to back (a Portuguese nurse who hasn’t spent much time in the bush and is rather wary of wildlife) took some pics of some of them he saw for me. One afternoon the machines turned up a pair of Rhamphiophis oxyrhynchus, apparently, according to several witnesses they were quite large and well over a metre in length. Neither were injured and one of the foremen moved them off into the bush. The pics unfortunately were not close ups 
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On the main road there was this Python natalensis that was rather obviously dead.
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Also seen were a couple of Naja mossambica, what sounds from the nurse to be very much like a Dendroaspis polylepis (he doesn’t know enough about snakes to make up stories, and his very clear description sounds like this was a beaut!), a few more medium sized Bitis arietans, and another small (3ft) P natalensis. All were apparently unharmed and moved off into the bush themselves, other than the python that had to be picked up and shifted onto a nearby koppie.

This morning I went over the border into Malawi (quite unknowingly, just followed the railway reserve) and on the way back this Gabar Goshawk swooped down onto the dirt in front of me. I wasn’t able to see clearly what it was attacking, but through the lens I could see something writhing in its talons. I managed to crawl the pickup slowly forward and just before it took off, I managed to get a few shots. On looking at them a bit enlarged I could see that it was eating a massive centipede. I hope you can see it in the pics. These aren’t the largest raptors around, but they aren’t that small either, this was truly a HUGE centipede.
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Also very prevalent at the moment are the Lilac-breasted rollers. Always worth trying to get a decent pic of in my opinion.
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The place has had a few sporadic rains whilst I was away, and although there are spots of greenery, it’s really dry and dusty. At the moment there is a lot of deep excavation going on, and not much brush clearing, so I don’t think I will find too much of interest in the way of reptiles, but let’s see how it goes…
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Re: Tete , Northern Mozambique

Postby Mitton » Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:30 am

Those Beaked Snakes are awesome. Glad they were not injured.
Thanks for the updates.
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Re: Tete , Northern Mozambique

Postby Sico » Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:13 pm

Today was a fairly productive day as far as everything goes.
I started off with some nice shots of this LBJ (Large Brown Job) up in the Baobab with the bees nest in it. Snake eagle? Wahlberg’s? I don’t have a Robert’s with me and can’t be bothered to google all night. It was pretty interested in me standing there taking pics of it anyway…
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Later in the day we I went over to where they were starting excavation of a watercourse to install a box culvert. I had been there before with the surveyors and thought there may be a chance that something interesting would turn up, even though there was very little water there, and a lot of both human and animal activity and the water was not of the best quality either being slightly downstream of a rather grubby settlement (which is relocating because of the railway so we’re actually doing nature a favour here)
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The herps were actually pretty good at this spot.
The machine turned up what I am pretty sure is Prosymna stuhlmanni (I got the whole specimen as it had internal injuries)
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Scelotes sp?
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Another Lygosoma sundevalli and I also saw the tail end of a disappearing Elapsoidea, but I couldn’t find it in the brush when I managed to get in there.
Frogs in and around the water…
Xenopus sp
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Ptychadena anchietae?
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Phrynobatrachus acridoides?
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Tomopterna krugerensis?
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And two interesting bush crickets (still yuck though!), the fatter of the two was about half again as big as the biggest parktown prawn I’ve ever seen.
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Feel free to correct any mis-identifications, especially on the amphibs, there aren't a lot of well-labelled photographs on the internet of a lot of the southern African amphibs outside of SA's borders...
I'm looking forward to going back in the morning and carrying on sifting through the excavated materials to sdee what else turns up at this spot.
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Re: Tete , Northern Mozambique

Postby Westley Price » Wed Jul 03, 2013 9:45 am

Great stuff, Sico. Pity you weren't there to appreciate the Beaked Snakes.

I recon the Beaked Snakes are rather R. rostratus than R. oxyrhincus. To be honest this is just a hunch and I am not 100% sure on the differences, but Tete is the type locality of rostratus, so I think that is a likely ID.

There used to be subspecies of a single species before being elevated to full species status, so they should be fairly similar in terms of appearance.

I'm loving this topic!
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