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For your eyes only!

Green Vine Snake, Coorg -

Very few people have seen this sleek, green beauty up close. Those who do manage it haven’t seen her again. Or seen again, if one were to go by a popular myth in southern India. For the green vine snake is reckoned to strike you blind with her arrow-like head if you poke your nose, uninvited, into her affairs. Case of an eye–catching beauty with a difference? Fact is, this snake is very small and usually stays well camouflaged, minding her own business, thinking about how to maintain that size zero figure. But since she’s so slim, vine-like and part of the foliage, one tends to get closer than normal if one wishes to make a closer acquaintance. This proximity is, however, something our reptilian friend prefers to do without. She warns you not to get too close by rearing up and opening her jaws to look more formidable. Sometimes, telltale black and white stripes also appear, to warn of her mood. But then, she is a real stunner and love can be blind. When all her warnings are ignored, this beauty strikes at whatever is closest in her view, which often happens to be the eye of the beholder. Hence the myth, and the fearful reputation that this otherwise gentle snake has earned. So remember, the next time you’re in Coorg and see a svelte siren dressed all in green, you’ll know better than to give her the eye.

Photograph: Vijay Rao Story: Rajesh Ramaswamy



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