28 December 2012

Wadi Racer – Raghadan Forest (Baha)

I found this Wadi Racer at the top of Raghadan Forest Reserve whilst walking through the trees looking for birds. The snake was actively hunting and I saw it moving swiftly across the ground. It was about one metre in length and moved very fast but when it noticed me it hid under a rock. I carefully moved the rock and was able to take a couple of photographs of it before it moved off and was lost to sight down the rocky slopes of the forest. Although quite a long snake they are not very thick being only about 5 centimetres across. They are a highly active snake and one of the most common in the region with a highly variable external morphology, particularly ventral scales, possibly depending on habitat. They are often found in wadis with permanent running water, although they can also live in dry desert regions and on mountain sides where it usually occurs in rocky areas. They are active by day or at dawn and dusk and actively hunt by tracking prey by sight, and chasing it with great speed and agility. Their diet includes fish, tadpoles, toads, reptiles, small mammals and birds and although lacking venomous fangs, the saliva of the Wadi Racer may have a mildly toxic effect.