SINGAPORE: A father who saw a light green snake at a fitness corner at Bukit Panjang took to social media to ask others to help him identify what type it was.

Commenters on the Singapore Wildlife Sightings Facebook page, where Mr Jonathon Lam posted photos of the snake on Jan 20, helped to identify it as a Tropidolaemus wagleri, or Wagler’s Pit Viper. One man underlined that this snake is “highly venomous and potentially dangerous to humans” but added that, fortunately, it is usually not considered deadly.

The helpful commenter to Mr Lam’s post added that these snakes are usually seen in forests around the Bukit Timah and Central Catchment Nature Reserves and surrounding nature parks.

He also asked for the particular location of the fitness corner, adding that it would be best for the viper to be relocated back to the forest. Mr Lam can reach out to ACRES or the NParks Animal Response Hotline for assistance in the matter.

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NParks’ website says, “If you come across snakes persisting in a public area or on your property, please call NParks’ 24hr Animal Response Centre at 1800-476-1600, and we will assist.”

Mr Lam identified the area where the viper was spotted as Block 606 Senja Road at an HDB estate in Bukit Panjang. He also added a Google Maps link to the site.

Others agreed that the viper should be relocated, saying it’s too close to the residents there.

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After many Facebook users told Mr Lam that he should stay far, far away from the snake, he wrote that he had figured out that it was indeed venomous through the shape of its head but was just uncertain about what specific species it was.

Venomous snakes have heads that have a distinct shape. Non-venomous snakes have rounded shapes, while venomous snakes have triangular-shaped ones.

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However, some non-venomous snakes are known to mimic the triangular shape of venomous snakes by flattening their heads to keep predators at bay.

Other commenters on the post helped identify the snake as a juvenile, explaining that adult females of the species are black and yellow, while adult males are also light green but tend to be bigger and have black markings.

The viper in Mr Lam’s photos also has a yellow tail, which helps identify it as a juvenile. The bright colour, used by the viper to attract prey, changes as the snake matures.

NParks has also given the following guidelines for those who see sales in public:

  • Observe from a safe distance, as snakes will not attack unless disturbed or provoked.
  • Stay calm and back away slowly, giving it space to retreat.
  • Do not approach or attempt to handle the snake.
  • Leave it alone, especially if it is in its natural habitat. Call NParks at 1800-476-1600 if you need assistance.
  • Keep pets on a tight leash as they might chase the snake and frighten it /TISG
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