all the snakes I have caught, this is the one I like to hold the
least. Perhaps it is the knowledge that no antivenom is available or
perhaps the concentrated, tense posture of the snake.
Because they are arboreal, you will not easily run
into a twig snake. If you do run into one on the ground (like I did)
it is probably wise to recognise it and give it a wide berth
The Twig, Vine or Bird snake has a pale blue-green
upper head heavily speckled with dark brown, black and sometimes
pink. A wide pink-white, black-speckled band runs along upper lip
from snout to back of head passing across lower half of eye.
A dark oblique band radiates from each eye to upper
lip. Chin and throat are white, speckled with black. Tongue is
bright yellow to orange-red and black-tipped . An unusual
keyhole-shaped pupil with eye in very forward position gives this
snake binocular vision - allowing it to recognize stationary prey at
Vine Snakes come in many different patterns and
shades. Colors vary from almost uniformly grayish-white with tiny
black speckles along its body. As they age orange markings appear on
the head and the grayish-white pattern becomes more complex, making
them look just like twigs or branches as they lay motionless in
trees awaiting their prey.
The Zulus believe that this snake strikes and wounds
like a spear because of the blinding speed of the strike
It seldom bites unless provoked, moving gracefully
and swiftly when disturbed.
Although it is a timid snake, it will inflate its
neck to display the bright skin between scales when threatened,
followed by lunging strikes while the bright tongue flickers in a
Although often called bird snakes, they prey largely
on chameleons and lizards but small birds are frequently eaten by
larger specimens of 1,5 meters long. Their gray-green blotched
coloring blends perfectly with foliage in which they lie motionless
Slow-acting Haematoxic, acting on the blood,
disabling the clotting process and causing internal and external
Symptoms typically occur 24-48 hours after being
bitten. Venom is similar to that of the boomslang but as a rule less
severe, nevertheless potentially dangerous. A number of deaths have
been recorded. Bites are rare.
At present no antivenom is available.
Immobilise and reassure victim, who must lie down
and be kept as quiet as possible. Apply pressure bandage
immediately, immobilise limb with a splint to reduce spread of
venom. Loosen, but do not remove bandage if there is severe
swelling. Take victim to hospital as soon as possible.
Using a tourniquet to prevent the snake venom from
being released in the bloodstream is extremely dangerous and could
result in the loss of the affected limb. The cutting open and
sucking out of venom is a waste of time
Chameleons, tree-dwelling lizards, birds, snakes.
Oviparous. Lays 4-18 eggs which hatch after 90 days.
Young 230-330 mm.
Birds of prey and other snakes.
Trees and shrubs in moist savanna and lowland
This is a series of photos taken by SW, a friend in his garden in