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1st grassie of 2006

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Robert V View Drop Down
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    Posted: 23 Mar 2006 at 12:58pm

Hi all,

Time 11.20 am. E/ Forest. With the cold easterly still blowing, i reckon the air temperature was about 8-9 deg but in the sun in the heather, possible 11-12 deg. No toads yet but the appearance of this grassie says spring is coming......At last!

 

R



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Alan Hyde Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Mar 2006 at 2:02pm
Nice one Robert , the First natrix is a sign that spring is truely here
O-> O+>
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Robert V View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Robert V Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Mar 2006 at 7:54pm

Thanks Alan, yes it felt good. I'm taking late notice a/leave from work tomorrow - saved it especially for - wait for it.... Just found out its supposed to be the magical 13 deg tomorrow with bright sunny spells and no wind, should get some real grassie action, cant wait!

R

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Robert V Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Mar 2006 at 5:31am

 

All,

25th march, not as warm as predicted by the weather forecasts, but, nevertheless, 19 common lizards out (i'll post one basking with a slow worm later) 1 slow worm and another 2 Grass snakes (both adults).

Still no toads as yet!

Interesting that 2nd sighting of 2nd Grassie had it moved south by about 50 metres in the two hours in between and towards the lake. At this rate, it will get there before the toads! talk about ambush predator! Lol

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote administrator Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Mar 2006 at 1:58pm

Robs piccies, sorry Rob that it took me so long to get around to posting these up, bad day in the office. I seriously envy your ability to get up close to grassies and get in-situ shots, so much more difficult than adder

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote administrator Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Mar 2006 at 2:14pm

PS Rob is that second grassie pictured indulging in a bit of jaw stretching? If so did it develop into a full blown yawn?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Robert V Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Mar 2006 at 2:48pm

Gemma,

thanks, I'll take that as a huge compliment coming from you. As well as having much better eye sight than the Adder (apparently the natrix sees in more colour as well) and fine tuned sense of smell, I actually believe that they can hear. I'm not just talking about vibrations, I mean snapping twigs and stuff!

On the point about the jaw....yeah, I was a bit worried about that. At first i thought it was just because i'd disturbed it in a deep basking sleep (I moved my tripod and snagged a big sprig of heather and it awoke in a start) but i might pop back over there just to check that the jaw is ok. If i think its the same, I'll catch it. Any ideas of a decent vet, if it turns out to be mouth rot or something?

R. Ps, Don't worry about the time, its good that they get posted at all and I think we're all grateful on here.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote administrator Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Mar 2006 at 3:41pm

Hi Rob, it isn't unusual for grassies to drop a lip like this whilst basking, I've seen it a few times. Sometimes they will stretch both sides alterntively, looks most uncomfortable but I think they do it fairly often. They may then yawn with the mouth wide agape, though this is usually after feeding, almost as if they are resetting their jaw.

If the jaw is permenantly set like this I would be concerned. Best herp vet I know around your way is Martin Lawton, not cheap but he will give a fair opinion of the snakes prospects in the wild.

I totally trust your observation that grass snakes hear airborne sound, been thinking the same thing myself for many years after seeing them respond to sounds as opposed to ground vibration. Cough by an adder and a grass snake sat together and the grassy will be off like a rocket whilst the adder doesn't seem to know why the grassy got upset 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vicar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Mar 2006 at 4:23pm

I remember reading somewhere about snakes hearing via something called the skin-muscle-bone mechanism. Did a quick search, found quite an interesting article:

http://www.anapsid.org/torrey.html

Steve Langham - Chairman    
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Robert V Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Mar 2006 at 8:39am

Steve, yes thanks for that, very interesting. I originally heard the theory put forward by Peter Brazaitis a past superintendent of herptology at New york zoo. And I quote; "They do however (snakes) have an inner ear with semi circular canals, a sacculus; an uticulus and a cochlea, the bone containing the sound receptors. Sound waves that travel through the air usually vibrate the the eardrum and fluid within the cochlea, but, in a snake, the sound waves travel through the quadrate bone that connects the lower jaw to the top of the skull and which sevrve as receptor causing the same vibrations within the tissues of the cochlea. Colubrid snakes in particular could hear quite well in the ranges of 0.1 to 0.7 kHz and this is the range of a low frequency sound such as a hiss"

As Gemma said, the Grass snake seems to be much more aware of sound than the Adder and from my own experiences, I can say that talking (but not moving) will drive away a grass snake long before an Adder and I therefore think that the grass snake has, in some way adapted (maybe because of the tendency to hiss which I've heard agitated females do to as many as five males that are trying to mate with her) the ability to hear a sound such as a whisper or a cough.

R  

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