MALE OR FE­MALE?

Animal Scene - - SCALY SPECIAL -

In cap­tiv­ity, spec­i­mens can die from de­hy­dra­tion even when sit­ting just mere inches from a bowl of wa­ter. Se­ri­ous and ad­vanced her­peto­cul­tur­ists solve the prob­lem by us­ing an aquar­ium air pump and low­er­ing the rub­ber hoses into wa­ter bowls, kept in place by an air stone. The bub­bling and splash­ing of wa­ter is usu­ally enough to elicit a drink­ing re­sponse. An al­ter­na­tive is man­u­ally mist­spray­ing the snakes, but this method takes time, pa­tience, and quite a deal of wa­ter. In other parts of the species’ range, fe­males dis­play a range of col­oration, usu­ally with a yel­low back­ground with scales edged with blue or blue-green, re­sult­ing in a retic­u­lated pat­tern, plus cross­bars of the same color. Males are bright green with rus­set stripes edged with white, in vary­ing breadths. Philip­pine snakes have both sexes ap­pear­ing the same color-wise, although it is pos­si­ble that the south­ern pop­u­la­tions have the fe­males very sim­i­lar in pig­men­ta­tion to those from neigh­bor­ing coun­tries. It has been re­peat­edly said that one can de­ter­mine the sex of these snakes based on the eye color, with fe­males hav­ing yel­low to or­ange eyes while it is sil­very white in males -- and vice versa, de­pend­ing on who you are con­vers­ing with. How­ever, it is my ob­ser­va­tion that there ex­ists a great deal of over­lap that gaug­ing a snake’s sex based on eye color alone can re­sult in er­rors.

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