We encountered this Mexican vine snake (Oxybelis aeneus) in a bush just south of Tucson, AZ in the Sonoran Desert during the 2012 Invertebrates in Education and Conservation Conference. This mildly venomous, diurnal, arboreal species is found in a tiny area of southeastern Arizona (the Pajarito and Patagonia mountains), Mexico, Central America, northern South America and Trinidad and Tobago.
Reaching a length of six feet, this agile, mildly venomous species captures lizards in trees and bushes. It is most likely to defend itself by releasing foul smelling substances from its vent. Bites may result in an itching sensation, though the snake is not considered dangerous.
Jim Melli, who was driving a carryall, saw this individual in a bush, pulled off to the side of the road, ran to the bush, and grabbed the snake so that everyone could see and photograph it. He took a number of bites in the process. He knows how to lead a field trip!