Asian Vine Snake
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Ahaetulla is a small genus of arboreal colubrids commonly referred to as Asian vine snakes or whip snakes. They are mildly venomous and opisthoglyphous, meaning they have enlarged teeth located in the rear of the upper jaw (also known as rear-fanged). Unlike the fangs of other venomous snakes, vine snake fangs are not hollow, but grooved. This allows venom to flow down the teeth from their venom glands and into their prey. Venom is chewed in, so to speak.
Asian vine snakes have a vast native range from Southeast Asia to Indo-China. Distributed throughout Cambodia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and West Malaysia, Ahaetulla inhabit humid tropical lowland forests and woodland, as well as dense swamps and jungle. They are also commonly encountered near human development and agricultural land that borders ideal habitat.When vine snakes sense danger, they will remain motionless, but if there is a breeze, they will sway back and forth with the foliage to add to their camouflage. At other times, for reasons yet unclear, if there is a threat, they will remain motionless with their tongue extended for minutes at a time.
Largely diurnal, the main prey of Ahaetulla are lizards and, on occasion, small rodents and birds. The eyes are more forward than on many other species, and their pupils are horizontal. The unique spear shape of the head combined with their unique pupils gives them the ability to make distinctions between shapes, detect movements and provides them with excellent depth perception. These traits make Ahaetulla skillful hunters, and they are amazing ambush predators.
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