Eastern Cape (plenty pics)

Eastern Cape (plenty pics)

Postby BushSnake » Sun Nov 25, 2007 9:29 pm

Hi

Everywhere we go we seem to take the clouds with. Taking rain to KZN and Limpopo province is one thing but delivering plenty of rain to the middle of the dry karoo is another. My Eastern Cape trip was ended 4 days short and in 7 days in the Eastern Cape I got 2 live snakes and 1 D.O.R. Absolutely horrible! I did get plenty of nice butterflies (the actual target), 18 SARCA records (mainly lizzards) and climbed some incredible mountains though.

The trip started brilliantly with this big "ball python" that crossed the road at 9:00 AM in the free state. I unfortunately didn't measure it but from other pictures (not posted) it can be estimated to be about 1.6m - 1.7m long. There weren't any good natural vegetation to photograph it in seeing as there were miles of mielie fields on either side of the road.

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Also, some tortoises from the Eastern Cape. I am not sure what the double picture one is. The closest I can find is an angulate tortoise but it doesn't look anything like the Namaqualand specimens I have seen and it would be the extreme of its range (near Pearston). Any ideas?

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And just to add some colour, here's one of the goggas we were after:
A male large silver-spotted copper (Trimenia argyroplaga)
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So because of a lack of reptile pics I thought I'd show some locality photos:

The Winterberg (the red arrow shows where most of the lizzards including Cordylus, Agamas, Pedioplanis, etc were found). It is a fairly difficult hike and you can see the clouds arriving...
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The Naudesberg Pass near Graaff-Reinet. Must be a puffadder heaven.
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Another mountain near Bedford looking over the Winterberg. I got 0 reptiles there even though it looked very promising.
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The western end of the Sneeuberg near Aberdeen. The blue sky is misleading and because of the weather we never went up any of the mountains. I'm still thinking Bitis inornata...
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And then a warning to all road users. Small roads are safer than the big ones. As I was driving along in the Free State on the N1 an oncoming truck threw a beer bottle (yes a BEER bottle) out of his truck and hit our windscreen. I LOVE SHATTERPROOF! It could have been my head. I had a big fright and wasn't in a state to go chase after the @#&^@% that threw the thing so I got no number plate.

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Postby alexander » Sun Nov 25, 2007 9:52 pm

Cool trip and nice photos. What was the DOR snake? The second pictures of the tortioses is an Angulate, you can the by the black triangles on the low fringe of scutes (I don't know the name :))
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Postby Natal Black » Sun Nov 25, 2007 10:17 pm

NICE!!
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Postby BushSnake » Sun Nov 25, 2007 10:33 pm

The D.O.R was a Karoo whip (Psammophis notostictus) found near Cradock. The cool evenings weren't good for night cruising.

I also found many dead monitors on the roads and the farmers shoot many more. We stayed on a farm where the guy shot one just before we arrived. He is a nature friendly guy and says that he normally catches them and releases them as far away as possible but they keep on returning (it can be others since they are really common there). Even though I strongly disagree with shooting them, the scenario should also be looked at from a farmers point of view. They do have a tendency to demolish chickens, eggs, and basically anything that moves. The farmer's wife has two 6 week old kittens running around the yard...

That same guy has basically made his farm yard snake proof with only a few cobras that will climb over and need to be dealt with. The puffies are safe on the other side though. I think its quite hard for non-farmers to understand the problem farmers have. Getting bitten by a Cape Cobra or a puffy when you are more than an hour from what can barely be called medical services is not a game.
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Postby Kay » Mon Nov 26, 2007 8:38 am

These are stunning pics! The karoo is just beautiful, isn't it! My valley that. Yes, us reptile lovers cannot understand the perspective of farmers in all cases, and I agree, with you that they have to keep their ownsafety in mind first.

Friends of ours have a farm near Pearston, and I remember we were little and playing in the barn on sacks full of feed or something. Not 30 minutes after we left one of the farm workers found a large snake (we were small and not to clued up about snakes at the time, but it was a green mamba or boomslang I think), and it was about 2m long. It was killed immediately of course, as the though of it biting one of us....

The same people also breed Bull terriers. The lady keeps them in large cages. They were away recently, and when they came back found one of their beautiful male dogs dead, with pieces of a puffy next to him.

So yeah, you have to have some understanding when they have to kill snakes.
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Postby Bushviper » Mon Nov 26, 2007 9:50 am

The Mole snake has blood on it, was it injured?

You are welcome to post the pics you took of the lizards as well.
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Postby froot » Mon Nov 26, 2007 10:21 am

Nice going Bushsnake, love the habitats.

I'd say thats definitely an angulate tortoise.
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Postby jka » Mon Nov 26, 2007 8:49 pm

Nice Mole snake Bushsnake,
I don't think its an Angulate tortoise, It looks more like an padloper to me maybe a Greater padloper.
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Postby alexander » Tue Nov 27, 2007 10:26 am

the first one is a Padloper, but the second is an Angulate.
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Postby Rob » Tue Nov 27, 2007 6:42 pm

I can imagine how difficult a Padloper that size must be to spot. Did you find him walking in the veld?
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Postby BushSnake » Tue Nov 27, 2007 8:02 pm

Yes the padloper was found on the lower slopes while hiking up the Winterberg. An absolute monster :D Thanks for the Angulate ID
The mole snake had blood on but it wasn't a serious cut. I caught him by the tail while he was crossing the road so I doubt it was me. He might have had a close shave with a car or pitch fork! Feisty little fellow! :twisted:

@BV: Here are 2 of the lizzards I found. The one is a Pedioplanis burchelli (Burchell's Sand Lizzard) and the other a Cordylus of some sort. I couldn't remember what the characteristic features of Cordylus were so I have got pics of its feet, head, underside, and pretty much everything on him. Any ideas on what species it is? I suspect the common Cape Girdle lizzard (Cordylus cordylus) but who knows. It's unfortunately shedding. The other lizzards were mainly skinks and dead rock monitors.

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Postby jka » Tue Nov 27, 2007 9:54 pm

Sorry, I didn't see the second photo of the angulate tortoise
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