A Good Year for Snakes
Dr Sutton travels the world to look for snakes.
Dr Sutton has been around the world looking for snakes over the last year, and was on the Malaysian island of Borneo last April searching for the Green Tree Pit Viper, which he managed to find in rainforest in the north of Sarawak. This is a very beautiful but extremely venomous species which can kill an adult in less than two hours if the bite is not immediately treated with antivenin. It has heat-seeking organs above its mouth which allow it to ‘see’ in infrared and catches birds and bats that fly past with a lightning fast strike.
Green Tree Pit Viper, Borneo
In May Dr Sutton continued his work on the Island of Corfu and finally (after 24 years!) caught up with the Aesculapian snake., which will now appear in the book that he is writing about the natural history of Corfu. This snake was named after the Greco-Roman God of medicine, Asclepius (or in Latin, Aesculapius) who was the son of Apollo (god of healing, truth, and prophecy) and the mortal princess Coronis. The Centaur Chiron taught him the art of healing. The symbol used for medicine, which can often be seen by the entrance of hospitals, has the Aesculapian Snake on its emblem. Legend has it that Asclepius was killed by Zeus (the king of the Greek gods who lived on Mount Olympus) because he brought back people from the dead!
Aesculapian snake, Corfu
Later in the year Dr Sutton studied the reptiles and amphibians of an iconic site in Surrey, known for it ‘exotic’ species including the Alpine Newt and Italian Crested Newt. It was here that he photographed the Grass Snake, as well as several other species, and these will all appear in an article in the June 2019 edition of British Wildlife magazine.
Grass Snake, Beam Brook Field Station, Surrey