Are Jet Black Jansenii Returning to the Hobby? Initial Observations.

Most hobbyists interested in Gonyosoma are familiar with the various color phases and localities of G. oxycephalum and the typical tan/silver G. jansenii from Sulawesi/Celebes. See here for a bit more information.

However, it has been ages (decades?) since any of us have seen, much less possessed, the jet black “Selayar” jansenii. (It has since been brought to my attention that these are currently coming from the island of Jampea.) There are a couple of explanations for why they disappeared. First, it was assumed that they were simply rare and therefore prohibitively expensive. The second explanation was that the area from which they were originally collected was now a protected area and so any (legal) collection for sale was out of the question.

I do not know what has changed, but this year, out of the blue, I have seen these animals now offered for import from several different sources (or perhaps, in the end, it is just one source and a multiplicity of importers, I don’t know enough about the logistics to say).

The result is that I’ve been keeping my eyes open for some kind of opportunity to add them to my collection, and one such opportunity arose, and I took it. This means that I can finally try to establish some of my own, a prospect that is both exciting and terrifying, since I have been doing this long enough to know that such projects can be extremely short-lived even with effective treatment.

Having said that, I’m going to pause to offer my initial impressions and some photos. I’ll provide the photos first:

Now for a few preliminary observations:

  1. If someone told me this was a different species, closer to a melanistic oxycephalum than a jansenii, I’d say “Yeah, that’s pretty apparent.”
  2. They are much more slender than the full-bodied Sulawasi jansenii.
  3. They seem energetic but have no postured or puffed, and this could be either alarming (I like to see attitude as an indicator of health, to a degree) or indicative of a different temperament altogether from Sulawesi jansenii, more along the lines of my experiences with oxycephalum (not that the latter are all puppydog tame, by any means).
  4. I can see these being actual “arboreals” as opposed to the more common jansenii that I always understood to be “semi-arboreal/semi-terrestrial”.
  5. There’s that blue tongue, which I always associated with oxycephalum rather than jansenii.
  6. They are the glossiest snake I’ve ever seen in person. Much more so than even my Eastern Indigos. Every bit as “shiny” as they look in those photos.

Of course, I’m not trying to make any scientific claims here. And all of this should be taken with a grain of salt considering we just met and this is a sample size of two.

All in all, just registering my impressions. I’ll provide more information as they settle in, and as I’m able.