A pleasant surprise on Sekudu's shore last week was a Banded File Snake that formed a limp heap on the seagrass like a discarded rope. A little over two feet long, the snake made feeble and failed attempts to poke around its vicinity for a hole. Instead of the disarmingly sinuous glide that other serpents use to inflict undue fear unto onlookers, this marine reptile moves more like a worm, with wave-like ripples of loose skin that resemble the wriggles of peristaltic contractions. It wasn't evident in torchlight but the snake's beady eyes are a pretty powder blue.
The banded pattern may recall deadlier cousins, but this is a harmless piscivore that arouses amusement with its dumpy, indistinct head, ill-fitting folds of baggy skin and utterly spineless disposition. Some individuals are so sluggish they acquire a green coat of goo. Though no live wire, this specimen has a hide unblemished by marine debris. Their cuticle has been found to be a non-watertight layer of scales that traps water to help the snake stay cool and damp during intertidal hunting forays. It's a trick that would keep my duck happily wet and dripping but perhaps unfit for prolonged exposure in all but the most impolite of companies.