On Komodo island I spotted this young blue pit viper (Trimeresurus insularis) stealthily moving along the forest floor. Its movement was slow and steady, and the viper halted with its head raised. When I approached closely I realized my mistake — the viper’s head was directed straight towards a banded forest skink (Sphenomorphus melanopogon). The skink was resting on a fallen coconut a few meters away and facing the opposite direction. Initially I thought I hadn’t disturbed the scene, but after a few seconds the skink abruptly scampered away to a nearby tree. To witness the entire predation attempt would have been wonderful, but nevertheless I was thrilled to find this stunning snake. The viper was upset with my presence, recoiling and wrapping around a seedling to assume a defensive posture. It was interesting to spot this viper actively hunting on the ground and especially during the day. I’m more accustomed to arboreal vipers being mostly nocturnal, and I’ve rarely observed them moving around during daylight hours.
Following is a handful of my favorite photos of other individuals of the same species that we encountered in April of last year.