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‘Exceedingly Rare’ Snake Rediscovered on Tree in Tibet

The Gammie’s wolf snake (Lycodon gammiei) is an “exceedingly rare” species of Asian snake, but researchers managed to find one in the middle of the night as it was hanging out on a big tree in Xizang/Tibet. A research article published this week in ZooKeys details the find.

According to researchers, L. gammiei is “a rare non-venomous snake species within the family Colubridae.” Though first described in 1878, scientists very rarely encounter this snake, and “no genetic data have been reported.” This time, scientists collected a sample specimen to learn more about the species.

The researchers somehow managed to find this rare snake after dark, just before midnight, on a tree near a road. Though the snake is strikingly yellow and black, it seems serendipitous that researchers happened across one in the dark.

In the past century and a half since the species’ initial discovery, scientists have spotted L. gammiei in India, China, and Bhutan. This latest sighting was in Mêdog County in Xizang/Tibet, an autonomous region in China north of the Himalayas.

“The discovery of L. gammiei in Medog County, China, signifies an eastward expansion of its known geographical distribution,” the researchers wrote.

rare snake rediscovered in Tibet
Rare snake in Tibet. Image courtesy of XQ Mi via ZooKeys

Researchers are calling this a “rediscovery” of the Gammie’s wolf snake, because it is that rare to see them.

Imagine what else is out there, avoiding researchers in remote areas of the world?

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