From the danger-free world of herpetology in Madagascar
If you like to be fascinated by snakes and other reptiles, Madagascar is the place to be. All the pangolins native to the island are non-toxic for humansso that visitors can get close to them even without zoological expertise. A photo of this exotic reptiles to shoot and even pose with them is hardly as harmless in any other country on earth as it is on the red island. Nevertheless, one should behave respectfully towards the reptiles and expose them to as little stress as possible. Individual species (Leioheterodon madagascariensis mainly) can become aggressive if they feel cornered, but even then remain completely harmless to humans. The best time of year to observe reptiles is the Summer of the southern hemispheres of October till April. In this season it is the warmest. In some regions one should consider the rainy season when choosing the travel period. Madagascar travelers encounter the majestic reptiles almost in all areas of the island.
They can be observed, for example, in the Ranomafana, Montagne d'Ambre and Andasibe as well as in rice fields, roadside ditches, forests, near rivers and swamps as well as in the dry and mineral south. Divers can also find in the coral reefs impressive Sea snakes observe. Very often you can find Leioheterodon modestus, which is easily recognized by its light brown color and characteristic head. Also the elongated striped Dromicodryas bernieri can often be observed.
The Madagascans themselves are mostly afraid of snakes, as negative characteristics are attributed to them by the very superstitious population. Although they are not hunted for this reason, many snake species are, however, protected by the Threat to their habitat threatened with extinction. So too Madagascar's unique boas, which like the Lemurs or also many Chameleon species occur only here. In total live on the island 80 different species of snakes.
Madagascar's Impressive Boas
Three of the four snake species living on Madagascar have their natural habitat only on Madagascar (Boa manditra, Sanzinia madagascariensis and Boa dumerilii). Supposed lovers of these impressive animals, pay for this reason a high price if they get a specimen of these species on the Black market is offered. Economic hardship drives some Madagascans to hunt and capture what they see as scary animals for this very reason. Far too often it succeeds then these strictly protected species to Europe or Bangkok, the transshipment point for exotic animals. Some peoples of Madagascar hunt and eat particularly large specimens of the impressive boas.
One of these particularly large boas is the Boa madagascariensis - Acrantophis madagascariensis. She lives on the Soil of the northern and eastern rainforests Madagascar and is like many snake species nocturnal. Adult specimens measure up to 3.5m twill length. The Leioheterodon madagascariensis also has an impressive length and belongs to those species that can be observed quite often. Although it is not a poisonous snake, it is - in contrast to other boas - very aggressive. It is often found in the open countryside, but also along roads and paths in the east of the country, such as the Montagne d'Ambre. It can be recognized by its beautiful coloration of blue-black and yellow scales. It feeds on frogs, lizards, small snakes and eggs. The Boa dumerilii-Acrantophis dumerili on the other hand lives mainly in the North and southwest from Madagascar and also feeds on small reptiles and eggs. But birds are also on the menu of this snake species.