Snake Recognition

The recent experience of an acquaintance offers a use for camera phones: Her duplex was invaded by a snake, forcing one offspring to yell for it to be killed, another to demand its safe return to the wild, the mother to scream from a safe distance, and the father to frantically Google the snake’s appearance to find out if it was poisonous.

How hard would it be to have a sort of “skin recognition” where the scared human takes a picture of the snake’s skin, uploads it to a website and receives details of the snake, its threat level and the best way to return to somewhere less intrusive. (My friend lobbed two encyclopedias at it and, while it was devouring that, caught it in a fishing net.)

Does anything like this exist? Could it? How hard would it be?

09. November 2007 by jeremy
Categories: Phones | Tags: , | 6 comments

Comments (6)

  1. So … was the snake poisonous?

  2. Flickr has a group just for this, called ID Please: http://www.flickr.com/groups/idplease/

  3. Jeremy,

    I have setup two new flickr groups, one for snake identification and one for spider identification. Here’s the links to them both:

    http://www.flickr.com/groups/what-is-this-spider/
    http://www.flickr.com/groups/what-is-this-snake/

  4. Akshay: still no positive ID on it.
    Martin: good idea, how long have you had those groups?

    How can this sort of thing be automated? I envisage a sort of scanr.com type service, where the user sends the picture via email and a result comes back by SMS ‘Back off! He bites’ or ‘You can keep it as a pet if you like’

  5. Jeremy,

    I already offered the spider id service on one of my own websites for years.

    To answer your question: I’ve just created them, so they didn’t exist before my comment posting.

    Can’t easily automate this type of service as it requires a knowledgeable person to make an accurate ID.

  6. Interesting in case of emergency, but I wonder.

    Having had the occasion to get REALLY close to what seemed to be a tree viper, I could find nowhere on the internet the precise description of what is called there a “leaves snake” -ular daun- and ressembles both a white lip viper and at least two other snakes of the same family and green snakes (yes it was green) are all over the net.

    Anyway, just stay away fron any, venomous or not. The fact is, reptiles bites are higly infection prone, and if, as a matter of fact, being bitten by a mere lizard might not kill you at once, it could get you some severe troubles.

    At least with spiders, you know where you are : they are all venomous.