04 July 2011 1 of 2


DILI, DILI DISTRICT, TIMOR-LESTE

 


TIMOR-LESTE REPTILE & AMPHIBIAN SURVEY
PHASE V: EXCITABLE AMERICANS

(page 1)

I don't know what got into the American students this morning, they were hopping all over the place and singing "God Bless America" every time I walked past, must be something in the water!

Crazed young Californians not withstanding, the first task today was a venom extraction (aka milking) demonstration, I was going to present an Island pitviper (Cryptelytrops insularis) and give an improptu lecture on what defines a pitviper, how they hunt etc and then have the snake bite through a prepared parafilm membrane over a petri-dish. Any venom I collect goes to the Australian Venom Research Unit which has research interests in Southeast Asia and where I hold a research fellowship for my work in Papua New Guinea.

Demonstrating the hinged fangs of an Island pitviper,
Cryptelytrops insularis

The lecture and 'milking' went well and we moved onto more mundane tasks that face an expedition in its closing stages, ie. packing specimens for export, packing kit for shipping or storage until next time, admin etc etc.