usually refers to a stylised knife (said to be Nepalese in origin), but in this case it refers to an extremely smart-looking snake – around 10-12cm long – that paid a visit to my house yesterday.  Here’s a picture of it all essed up, set to strike.

Kukri in a basin, set to strike

Kukri snakes are really handsome snakes, with bright lengthwise stripes that converge on their heads in a nice pattern, and a brilliant underside.  Here’s the kukri showing that off :)

A view of the kukri's brilliant belly :p

Natgeo spectacle

I’ve always been fascinated by nature and in particular the countless species of animals that share this sphere of blue and green.  (Not that this stops me from getting anxious about beetles and cockroaches etc.)  Here are some remarkable photos from the National Geographic web site.

From a  35-day census of Antartica wildlife: muscular-looking giant starfish, vicious-looking stareater fish; a fish that looks at once like jewelry and weaponry – sort of like a meticulously crafted jeweled dagger; one of the census researchers holding a type of sea cucumber called a sea pig, with the standard piggish snout and skin colour and ears.

From the Best Wild Animal Photos of 2008 gallery: nice contrast in size between a right whale (which can weigh around 70 tons) and a diver (perhaps around o.1 ton); life and death frozen in time as a rare tree frog tries to pry away a cat-eyed snake whose fangs had sunken into its mouth – good thing the photographer had his camera with him! Look at the colouration of the frog’s eye!; a black-crested macaque and its furrowed-brow charm.

And I could not leave out this one, of a rare “dirty thunderstorm” – a spectacular play of lightning amidst the ash plumes from a massive volcano eruption in Chile.