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This mysterious snake is so elusive, people thought it might not even exist

Published Jul 11th, 2024 1:47PM EDT
Image: Liang, Huang et al.

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Researchers scouring the mountains of Sichuan Province in southern China finally captured a glimpse of an elusive and mysterious snake that many thought might not even exist at all. The snake, which is part of a species known as Berezowski’s reed snakes, hasn’t been seen for almost three decades.

It was originally discovered in 1896 and was named for Michael Berezowski, a Russian zoologist who first captured the species in the 1890s. The roughly one-foot-long animals are known by their distinctive yellow “collar” and “blunt” tails. They also have elongated bodies, and altogether their heads and tails seem to look almost identical.

As far as snakes go, they’re actually pretty cute little guys. Of course, if you hate anything that slithers or crawls, you probably won’t share that sentiment when looking at photos of the elusive Berezowski’s reed snake. Still, the spotting of not one but three of these elusive snakes is huge news for scientists.

Because the species hasn’t been spotted reliably in so long, some scientists were starting to question the validity of the original claims from the 1890s about it existing at all. So, finding three of them in one place has not only helped confirm their existence, but it has given scientists even more specimens to research and study.

Perhaps part of the reason that the Berezowski’s reed snakes have proven so hard to spot is because of their tendency to stick close to the ground. Another factor is their coloring, which makes it very easy for them to blend in with the leaves found within their natural habitat.

Even then, though, it’s crazy to think of how often creatures like this remain hidden right under our noses, even when we’re looking for them. Just imagine how many species of animals might be hiding that we haven’t discovered yet—like these strange alien-like creatures scientists found at the bottom of the ocean.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.