Saturday, April 23, 2005

Snake on a Stick...mmm!

Arabian Sand Boa Held By SSG Greene. Photo By SGT Flint.

Soldiers working on the perimeter of Camp Bucca rescued this large Arabian Sand Boa, which was endangered by construction work. A picture of the snake was sent to Robert George Sprackland, PhD, Director of The Virtual Museum of Natural History, who responded:
Thank you for the excellent photograph of one of the most exquisite specimens we have ever seen of the Arabian sand boa. The ones here that are exported from Egypt for zoos and pet shops pale in comparison. Sand boas are found across central North Africa east to India. All are characterized by blunt heads and tails, stout bodies, and an intricate upper pattern contrasting with a plain white belly. Like other boas, they are constrictors, which means they kill prey by holding its ribcage shut when the animal exhales. They feed on rodents and the occasional lizard, and are completely harmless to soldiers. Maximum size is about a meter. Males have a pair of claw-like spurs at the base of the tail. Sand boas spend most of their time under the sand, going deeper during the heat of the day, then lying in ambush for prey near the surface at night.
Shortly after this photo was taken, the boa crushed the stick holding it. The snake was then released a safe distance from the camp.

Welcome Birding Babylon readers.

I've just received another photo of the Arabian sand boa as it was released: