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Some reptiles of Mlele Beekeeping Zone

Publié le par YH

Diversity of reptiles in the area was never carefully studied and S. Spawls et al. (2004) in their reference book, A field guide to the reptiles of East Africa outlined the under-collection of data in Western Tanzania.

Even if we never really looked for snakes, encounters are quite frequent. Most common species encountered are black mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis), puff adder (Bitis arietans) and boomslang (Dispholidus typus). These species are habitat generalists and can be found anywhere in the Mlele Beekeeping Zone.

Black mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis)
Black mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis)
Black mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis)

Black mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis)

Dead puff adder (Bitis arietans)

Dead puff adder (Bitis arietans)

Boomslang (Dispholidus typus) female

Boomslang (Dispholidus typus) female

Three other snake species have been observed, which are more habitat specialist and water dependent species. The olive Marsh snake (Natriciteres olivacea), a specimen of the less common dark morph was observed in an inundated floodplain during the rain season.

The African rock python (Python natalensis) seems dependent on water as it was observed close to rivers or waterholes.

The twig snake (Thelotornis capensis) has been observed and pictured in Iloba gallery forests, close to the camp.

Olive Marsh snake (Natriciteres olivacea) dark mprph.

Olive Marsh snake (Natriciteres olivacea) dark mprph.

Twig (or wine) snake (Thelotornis capensis)
Twig (or wine) snake (Thelotornis capensis)

Twig (or wine) snake (Thelotornis capensis)

Southern African rock python (Python natalensis)

Southern African rock python (Python natalensis)

Nile crocodile (Crocodilus niloticus) even if abundant in neighbouring Katavi and Rukwa has never been observed in Mlele, neither in Iloba or Msima rivers, probably due to the lack of water during most of the dry season. Nile monitor (Varanus niloticus) has been observed close to river and water points, but was never captured with camera traps.

Nile crocodile (Crocodilus niloticus) pictured in neighbouring Katavi national park

Nile crocodile (Crocodilus niloticus) pictured in neighbouring Katavi national park

Nile monitor (Varanus niloticus)

Nile monitor (Varanus niloticus)

For the moment only the flap-necked chameleon (Chameleo dilepis) which is common throughout Western Tanzania has been observed and pictured.

Flap necked chameleon (Chameleo dilepis)

Flap necked chameleon (Chameleo dilepis)

Among lizards the yellow-throated plated lizard (Gerrhosaurus flavigularis) was observed and pictured. Several Agama species are regularly observed but remain difficult to determine without being captured to be closely observed.

Yellow throated plated lizards (Gerrhosaurus flavogularis)

Yellow throated plated lizards (Gerrhosaurus flavogularis)

Agama sp.

Agama sp.

People and snakes: Some of the local inhabitants from both Wasukuma and Wakongo groups  have knowledge in snake handling and manipulation. They use to perform with snakes in Drum & dance groups during traditional manifestation.

Southern African rock python (left), Puff adder (center left), Sand snake (center right) and black mamba (right)

Southern African rock python (left), Puff adder (center left), Sand snake (center right) and black mamba (right)

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