Spotted Harlequin Snake - Homoroselaps lacteus

South African snakes with venoms that are not considered to be medically important.

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Spotted Harlequin Snake - Homoroselaps lacteus

Postby Rob » Fri Jul 17, 2009 12:38 pm

These pics belong to a friend in PE.

First a 59cm long female
Image

And then one of the babies he bred out.
Image

He bred these snakes twice in captivity and once allowed a gravid female to drop.
So 3 clutches, 1 of 12 eggs by a 40cm female, one of 6 eggs and one of 11 eggs from a female he found up a tree. She dropped the following day. She had some marks on her and 3 broken ribs so maybe dropped up there by a bird? Or maybe not.
Another interesting point, when the female dropped 12 eggs the eggs were transparent, as though the female lacked calcium. And yet they went full term and all the way through he could see them developing inside.
2 weeks before hatching he could see them squirm inside.
Rob Deans

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Re: Spotted Harlequin Snake - [*]Homoroselaps lacteus[*]

Postby alberts » Fri Jul 17, 2009 12:44 pm

Just a question Rob, did he keep these snakes in captivity for a very long time without any problems? I have tried once a few years ago, with little success.
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Re: Spotted Harlequin Snake - [*]Homoroselaps lacteus[*]

Postby Rob » Fri Jul 17, 2009 12:54 pm

alberts - 2 years. He was feeding them on Amphisbaenians. Ill try recall which and post it here.
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Re: Spotted Harlequin Snake - [*]Homoroselaps lacteus[*]

Postby Durban Keeper » Fri Jul 17, 2009 3:36 pm

What a beautiful snake & the babies are super cute man. Looks like a calking with a red stripe :) beautiful Rob, thanks for sharing this with us.
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Re: Spotted Harlequin Snake - [*]Homoroselaps lacteus[*]

Postby Wolverine » Fri Jul 17, 2009 5:26 pm

Harlequins are beautiful..

Just a point (which I think may have been made before in a previous post) - people should be a little careful handling spotted harlequins, they are mildly venomous. I managed to get myself bitten by the striped version (of spotted harlequin) in KZN a couple years ago, and had quite a lot of swelling and pain in my arm for a few days.
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Re: Spotted Harlequin Snake - [*]Homoroselaps lacteus[*]

Postby Bushviper » Sat Jul 18, 2009 2:29 pm

I have never even seen a live amphisbaenid so would never be able to keep a snake like this alive. I know they feed on other burrowing snakes and getting these would be easier.
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Re: Spotted Harlequin Snake - [*]Homoroselaps lacteus[*]

Postby Rob » Sat Jul 18, 2009 4:58 pm

BV He is lucky down in PE, they get tons. He has a ball of about 20 frozen ones in his freezer

Wolverine - How big was that Striped Harlequin? I would imagine one the size of the adult above could deliver a decent nip
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Re: Spotted Harlequin Snake - [*]Homoroselaps lacteus[*]

Postby froot » Sat Jul 18, 2009 9:08 pm

Great post Rob, I find that bit about the transparent eggs fascinating. I suppose with their diet they do not get much calcium so this must be the norm. Get this mate of yours to register.
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Re: Spotted Harlequin Snake - [*]Homoroselaps lacteus[*]

Postby Rob » Mon Jul 20, 2009 8:15 am

FROOT - He is a member, his net access is erratic so he just reads from time to time.
Regarding the eggs, as far as I recall only 1 of the 3 clutches were transparent like this so its not the norm. Veeeeery interesting though.
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Re: Spotted Harlequin Snake - [*]Homoroselaps lacteus[*]

Postby Wolverine » Wed Jul 22, 2009 11:23 am

Rob

The harlequin that bit me was only ca 30-40cms, but it did give me a full bite, because it actually 'chewed' me a bit before I realised what was going on. Just to confirm it was a Spotted HS (H. lacteus - striped form), not Striped HS (H. dorsalis). Ones the size that you've shown must surely be able to give a good puncture if they feel like it.
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Re: Spotted Harlequin Snake - [*]Homoroselaps lacteus[*]

Postby Quintin » Wed Jul 22, 2009 11:35 am

Just plain beautiful!

I've always wanted to find one of these in the wild! Hope i get a chance soon! Those babies are minute! One cant imagine how and what they feed on to grow to adulthood!
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Re: Spotted Harlequin Snake - [*]Homoroselaps lacteus[*]

Postby Rob » Wed Jul 22, 2009 11:52 am

WOLVERINE - Ive also collected "Striped" lacteus before. Or rather I have once up in the Midlands. I also know of some from Eastern Cape.
dorsalis would be a lovely find.

Can you give a more detailed description on your bite?
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Re: Spotted Harlequin Snake - [*]Homoroselaps lacteus[*]

Postby Wolverine » Thu Jul 23, 2009 9:11 am

My harlequin snake bite:

I was in the KZN Drakensberg with friends – they were all doing normal stuff (ie not herping) so I wandered off and flicked a few rocks. On about my fourth rock I exposed a SHS which was very quickly trying to make its escape. The books talk about bites being very rare, because of its small gape and reluctance to bite, and it did have a very small head, so I simply picked it up. I wanted to get a pic (for SARCA) but had nothing to put it in, so carried it in my hand back to where my camera was. The ground was uneven, so it may have got a little shaken as I climbed down, which could have agitated it. As I was going, I felt a scraping feeling on the fleshy outer palm, below my baby finger. I stopped walking and watched as the snake very slowly tried to grip my hand with its mouth. At the time I thought this was cute, as I didn’t think it had any chance of succeeding and it didn’t ‘seem’ upset or very enthusiastic with its attempts. I was surprised when I felt a sharp pain on my hand as the fangs punctured the skin! As I watched, I realized it wasn’t going to release and actually kept chewing my hand so I had to pull its mouth off me. I continued to my camera. Almost immediately the bite site started burning a little and after 10 minutes, a numbness started to spread from the bite across most of my hand. After 30 minutes my hand started swelling and started to ache. This swelling increased and the aching pain increased in intensity and spread throughout the day. By the evening my whole arm was sore (6hrs after the bite) and I finally succumbed and took painkillers. The next day, my whole arm was sore, my hand pretty swollen (particularly the half closer to the bite) so I could barely bend my outer three fingers and the glands in my armpit were very sensitive and sore. I had to take painkillers a couple times during the day. And I just didn’t feel too good in general – lethargic and a bit weak. I had a slight headache, but have these fairly often normally, so couldn’t be sure if that was a symptom. From here on, the pain and swelling gradually subsided, with the pain mostly gone three days after the bite. Some stiffness remained surrounding the bite site for a couple weeks.

What was interesting was that as I held the snake for photos, it repeatedly tried to bite me very slowly, without striking and with specific provocation (ie a sudden movement).It would just move up to a part of my hand, open its mouth and slowly try and ‘press’ it on to the hand. It tried this 5-6 times while I was photographing it, but when I realized this is what it was trying to do, it was easy to avoid further bites. The second pic actually shows it as it moved to bite me again. An interesting experience!

Image

Image
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Re: Spotted Harlequin Snake - [*]Homoroselaps lacteus[*]

Postby Rob » Thu Jul 23, 2009 10:09 am

Thanks for the info.
It was a big one too. That slow attempt to bite as you described is also true of Telescopus, I find they often do that. Will be happily slithering up your arm before cocking the head and slowly opening its mouth to bite. Strange.

How bad was the pain? If it can be described.
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Re: Spotted Harlequin Snake - [*]Homoroselaps lacteus[*]

Postby Wolverine » Thu Jul 23, 2009 10:26 am

Hard to describe - a strong throbbing pain. It wasn't agony, but very uncomfortable - I wanted to stay painkiller free to observe all the symptoms properly, but eventually had to give in because of the discomfort (and I'm very tough;)).

I wonder if they have little need for a fast strike underground, where prey is either confined or maybe even asleep.

BTW, when I said 'with specific provocation' in the last paragraph, I meant 'with no specific provocation'.
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