A 1m long SPOTTED BUSH SNAKE (?) (non-venomous) was seen before lunchtime in the rafters of the dining area at Zingela bush camp beside the Tugela River, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, on Saturday 12 January 2013. The snake discovered a very large and battle-worn Wahlberg’s Velvet gecko (Homopholis wahlbergii)(which I had seen a few times in the area previously).
After attacking the gecko in the rafters, the snake and its prey fell to the floor. It’s at that moment, with the gecko retaliating, that I arrived with my movie camera. The whole event lasted about 40 minutes. This is a very tightly-edited, 10-minute movie of the event with most of the battle for survival by the gecko shown, and a VERY shortened conclusion. The retaliation of the gecko was both a natural reaction (as geckos do) as well as highly intelligent by clamping the snake’s mouth closed, and by holding the snake behind its head. Don’t ignore the agility of the gecko to avoid being bitten on its head.
(The snake has variously been thought to be a Philothamnus hoplogaster [green water snake] or a P. natalensis [Natal green snake] or *even* a P. angolensis [Angola green snake] and thought probably a Philothamnus semivariegatus [spotted bush snake]!) Snake specialist, Lynn Raw, suggests it is a Western Natal Green Snake [Philothamnus natalensis occidentalis] because “The iris colour in a bush snake is orangey-red-brown while this one is dark and greenish.” The gecko is thought to be very far south of its normal range – St Lucia – but the Tugela valley is very warm and suitable for this gecko.)