Tete , Northern Mozambique (part II)

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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Tete , Northern Mozambique (part II)

Postby Sico » Sat Jul 20, 2013 4:43 pm

I’ve caught several B. arietans this week. The first one was back in the borrow pit, 110cm, and pretty fat. It was in one of the spoil piles we had pushed together very close to the previous puff adder posted with the nice golden flecks. Unfortunately this one had been badly wounded around the ventral region and I needed to euthanase it. I am glad however that I have confirmation that large herps survive being in the spoil piles for several days, as these get removed and then dumped into the bush which gives them a good chance to move on to new environments and continue living.
One of the guys called me out to a smallish (80cm) puffadder crossing the haul road. I removed it into nearby thick bush, it was very Yellow-based, almost mustardy in colour, compared to the others,
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and this morning after one of the loaders had finished clearing some burnt out veld, I found this…
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On digging it out gently from the soft sand (it was obviously trapped in a rodent burrow) it came out uninjured and was also relocated. All these arietans have been found within a 15km stretch of the project, yet there are so many colour variations within this area. Any thoughts on this?

I also found this small section of snake, not sure what it is, and I couldn’t find any more bits of it.
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This tortoise, Stigmochelys pardalis? was lying on the sand uninjured this morning, also relocated off the site
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A nice Acraea
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A leaf mantis
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A couple of Trachylepis sp, I think the first one is T. maculilabris maculilabris, not sure if the 2nd one is a juvenile T. lacertiformis or something else. The colours are not like any lacertiformis I have seen before…
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Early this morning I was watching a flock of White-crested helmetshrikes foraging, calling to each other in their strange way that sounds like a bunch of small tasers going off, very entertaining birds, but also very camera-shy
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When in flew an African Harrier Hawk that started climbing tree trunks investigating holes before it was chased off by a pair of Lilac-breasted Rollers.
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I did start clearing a second borrow pit this week, not finding much other than a segment of a D. scabra, and another P.turneri. Work was stopped on that pit as the machines were needed elsewhere so I haven't had a chance to get back into it to look for anything else. I was hoping that the third borrow pit would be opened whilst I was still on site, as I think it will yield some interesting finds (I found a the first Prosymna next to that area and several puffaders have been seen there - including the yellow one- and I have seen tracks in the sand there of several other very large snakes), hopefulyl it will be delayed until I return. I have just over a week left here before I head back on leave, the time has passed very quickly.
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Re: Tete , Northern Mozambique (part II)

Postby Mitton » Sat Jul 20, 2013 5:40 pm

Very nice, I would love to see these Puff Adders after a decent wash or shed!
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Re: Tete , Northern Mozambique (part II)

Postby Chameleon Company » Sat Jul 20, 2013 6:51 pm

The tortoise is a Kinixys and probably Kinixys belliana.

Very nice finds you got there.
2:2 Pseudaspis cana
1:2 Dasypeltis scabra

And yes they are all on permit.
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Re: Tete , Northern Mozambique (part II)

Postby Sico » Sat Jul 20, 2013 9:28 pm

Definitely not a Kinixys sp
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Re: Tete , Northern Mozambique (part II)

Postby RJG » Sat Jul 20, 2013 11:01 pm

Very nice puff adder. Thanks again for all the non-herp pics. Awesome finds.
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Re: Tete , Northern Mozambique (part II)

Postby Bushviper » Sun Jul 21, 2013 7:19 pm

Looks like Kinyxis to me too. Not a Leopard tortoise that's for sure. The whole shape is wrong for that.

I would have also suggested K. belliana.
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Re: Tete , Northern Mozambique (part II)

Postby Sico » Sun Jul 21, 2013 7:50 pm

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Ok this may sound like an incredibly ignorant question... but where is the "hinge" ?
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Re: Tete , Northern Mozambique (part II)

Postby Chameleon Company » Sun Jul 21, 2013 8:15 pm

In the 1st and 3rd photo you can see the hinge very well. This is a rather small specimen so not much of it is evident for the untrained eye but it is just in front of the hind foot.

It is definitely Kinixys and I would bet my money on K. belliana.
2:2 Pseudaspis cana
1:2 Dasypeltis scabra

And yes they are all on permit.
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Re: Tete , Northern Mozambique (part II)

Postby Sico » Sun Jul 21, 2013 8:20 pm

My apology then CC, I've only ever found adults, and the hinge has always been VERY prominent on those.
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Re: Tete , Northern Mozambique (part II)

Postby Chameleon Company » Sun Jul 21, 2013 9:15 pm

No worries mate that's what the forum is for.

That is a juvenile and the hinges are not very visible.

You have some nice finds, especially interested in the Rufous Beaked Snakes.
2:2 Pseudaspis cana
1:2 Dasypeltis scabra

And yes they are all on permit.
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Re: Tete , Northern Mozambique (part II)

Postby Westley Price » Mon Jul 22, 2013 2:35 pm

Great stuff Sico.

I would also guess the uniform skink to be T. lacertiformis.
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Re: Tete , Northern Mozambique (part II)

Postby Kev » Mon Jul 22, 2013 8:33 pm

Thanks for sharing always like these types of posts.
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Re: Tete , Northern Mozambique (part II)

Postby Bushviper » Tue Jul 23, 2013 11:38 am

The scute right by the back leg is the giveaway. It looks like it has broken and healed again. Push the rear end and it will close like the boot of a Volkswagen beetle.
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Re: Tete , Northern Mozambique (part II)

Postby Sico » Thu Aug 01, 2013 2:04 am

In the last few days that I was on site we started crossing over a small stream. There was constant water flow through the mud, resulting in a string of several “pools” some of which were fairly wide and shallow, others quite narrow. In the pic you can see just to the left of where we crossed it, the distance across was around 1.9m, the depth at the crossing point was almost 3m!
Image It was filled with water lilies, and I noticed several medium sized barbel swimming around underneath them. The riverbed was filled to overflowing with dwarf papyrus and bulrushes, and I would most definitely like to get back to this spot during the rainy season, at night time to see what Amphibs come out.
I found one which might be Afrixalus sp?
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Another was possibly a Hyperolius sp, but escaped before I could get any decent pictures of it.
Another B. a. adspersus
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This Cham , C. dilepis?, was in a bush that was pushed down by the machine along the river bank. It was fairly small as you can see, and wasn’t at all happy about being disturbed.
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This noxious looking caterpillar was making its way across the turned over ground. I was stepping over some broken up branches a few minutes later and looked down into the root bole of a small Acacia tree, and saw another dozen odd munching away at the submerged trunk. They were around 80-100mm in length. Any ideas?
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Lastly one of the surveyors found what appears to be a stone hand axe from who knows when. Anybody know of a geology/palaeontology department that he can contact regarding this?
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Re: Tete , Northern Mozambique (part II)

Postby Westley Price » Thu Aug 01, 2013 9:14 am

Great stuff man.

I am sure with spring on the way you will start finding more and more herps. Will you still be around Moz at that period?

Yeah, that rock does look like a hand axe of sorts. Your best bet would be to contact the South African Archaeological Society or the South African Heritage Resource Agency. Both have contact details on their websites. I am sure they can give you the details of the resident archaeologist for you to e-mail the pics to him/her.
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