Snakes are one group of animals which always instill an element of fear into the minds of most creatures and the fear of snake may have evolutionary links to our development as it was one of the prominent threat in the wilderness during our hunter gatherer days. However the fear deffinitely do not deter herpetologists and snake lovers to look out for an encounter with a beautiful snake as they are often motivated by the beauty and diversity of these creatures. The discovery we are talking about was made by a team of scientists and researchers led by Dr. Mark-Oliver Roedel from Berlin's Natural History Museum, in the rain forests of Southeastern Guinea and Northwestern Liberia. The team discovered a new species of stiletto snake which can stab sideways and jump a distance equal to its own body length has been discovered in West Africa. Three specimens were found by a team of scientists and were later all identified as a species previously unknown to science.
The snake is from a family of vipers which have teeth protruding from the sides of their mouths, allowing them to strike prey with their venomous fangs from an unusual angle and without even opening their mouths.
The group is also known as mole vipers or burrowing asps and, due to their unusual physiology, they cannot be handled as other snakes can by holding them behind the head.
While most of these burrowing snakes are not venomous enough to kill a human, some are able to inflict serious tissue necrosis, which could lead to the loss of a finger or thumb.
The species has been named Branch's stiletto snake or Atractaspis branchi, in honour of the South African herpetologist Prof. William Branch, a world-leading expert on African reptiles who died in February 2017.
The first specimen was collected at night from a steep bank of a small rocky riverbed in a lowland in the evergreen forest of Liberia.
The team's findings have been published in the open-access journal Zoosystematics and Evolution
1. Find the original article here
2. Journal link: https://zse.pensoft.net
3. Image: A Stiletto Snake, Wikimedia