20 June 2013 2 of 3


TIMOR-LESTE (Dili District, mainland)

 


TIMOR-LESTE REPTILE & AMPHIBIAN SURVEY
THE SAVIOUR AND THE SWAMP

A good herping location near Dili is the Metinaro mangrove swamp approximately 40 minutes east along the North Coast Road. This extensive mangrove swamp is where Laca found a Little filesnake (Acrochordus granulatus) and where we found our first Timorese Crab-eating mangrove snake (Fordonia leucobalia) a few phases ago. We made a return visit as the sun began to drop and the tide began to turn, this is the best time to find homalopsid snakes in a mangrove swamp.

Metinaro swamp in the last of the afternoon's light

We set out to walk into the mangrove swamp in search of snakes. For many the deep glutenous mud made hard going, especially with the tangled mangrove roots and air-roots (pneumatophores) tripping the unwary. The going got more difficult as the darkness increased and visibility decreased. The mangrove swamp is a fascinating habitat, albeit a tough and dirty one to penetrate.

Mangrove, Rhizophora spp., and the mounds
of the Mud lobster,
Thalassina anomala, are the
building blocks of the mangrove forest
Mangrove seeds drop like spears and embed in the mud to germinate

 


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