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Anchorwhip

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Anchorwhip

Coiled against a tree, anchorwhip lies in wait. With jaws gaping it shoots out to seize a passing bird in midflight.

The Anchorwhip (Flagellanguis viridis) is an extremely long, thin, arboreal, treetop canopy-dwelling colubrid snake from Africa, similar to the boomslang.

It is among the several tree-living reptiles of the African tropical forest and is perhaps the most specialized. Its broad, grasping tail, the most muscular part of its body, is used to anchor it to a tree while it lies coiled and camouflaged among the leaves of the tallest crowns in wait for an unwary passing bird. The snake is capable of darting out three metres, equivalent to about four-fifths of its body length, and seizing its prey while still retaining a tight hold on the branch with its tail.

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