On our jungle (rainforest actually) walk that day, we stopped short and pierced our eyes through the thick undergrowth to spot the most shiny, long, ‘slim’ creature wriggling in the bush. When I was able to spot the movement and fell back in surprise, it was neither the length nor the sheen of the creature that caused it; it was the eyes of the Bronzeback Tree Snake—very easily reminding me of the button-eyes of a teddy bear I long ago possessed; eyes that were too big for its slender head, eyes that protruded and were keen and attentive.

The Bronzeback Tree Snake (Dendrelaphis tristis) resides in South Asia. Usually perched on tree tops, this particular snake chose to wander the forest floor on that fateful day, perhaps so we could have a chance encounter. It is a harmless, non-venomous snake that feeds primarily on birds, lizards, and frogs. Maybe the rains, that brought the frogs to the ground, also brought the snake in search of a kill.

Bronzeback snakes travel very fast; they are hardly stationary. And their skin excellently provides them a protective camouflage. We don’t really know if it was an adult or a juvenile as bronzeback younglings resemble adults greatly, but it seemed at ease with our presence and occupied itself with its business.

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