Snake News
Rare rhino rat snake hatches in London zoo
With its characteristic horn, the endangered rhino rat snake has been bred in a European zoo for the first time.
Scientists discover world's smallest snake species
If one wanted to overcome their fear of snakes, they may want to start with the newly discovered Leptotyphlops carlae. Measuring less than four inches long, even stretched out this new species of threadsnake can't compete with the average pen or pencil.
Deforestation causes snake invasion in the Amazon
An official with Brazil's environmental protection agency Ibama claims that snakes are invading the city of Belem due to deforestation of the Amazon rainforest.
World's largest spitting cobra discovered in Kenya
The world's largest spitting cobra has been discovered in Kenya, according to WildlifeDirect, a conservation group.
Snake uses trick to avoid poisoning from toxic frogs
An Australian snake employs a special feeding behvaior to avoid poisoning by toxic frogs, reports The American Naturalist.
How do snakes survive starvation?
Starving snakes employ novel survival strategies not seen before in vertebrates, according to research conducted by a University of Arkansas biologist. These findings could be used in conservation strategies to determine the health of snake populations.
Squirrels communicate with rattlesnakes using heated tail
Ground squirrels heat their tails to defend their young against predatory rattlesnakes, reports a study published in the early online edition of Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Pythons turn bones of prey into calcium
Burmese pythons don't eat very often, but when they do they like to pig out, ingesting the whole of their prey. There's very little waste as they are able to digest everything, apart from hair and feathers. Dr Jean-Herv Lignot (Louis Pasteur University) and Dr Robert K. Pope (Indiana University South Bend) will talk about the implications this has on the way these snakes digest food on Saturday 31st March at the Society for Experimental Biology's Annual Meeting in Glasgow.
Doctor performs kidney surgery on egg-eating snake
In early February Dr. Robert Moore performed microsurgery on an adult African egg-eating snake at the Bronx Zoo's Animal Health Center.
Blind pink snake discovered in Madagascar
A pink worm-like snake has been rediscovered in Madagascar more than 100 years after it was first found. The snake, which is blind and measures about ten inches long, is described in the February 1, 2007 edition of Zootaxa, a leading taxonomic journal.
Snake becomes poisonous by eating toxic frogs
A new study shows that the Asian snake Rhabdophis tigrinus becomes poisonous by sequestering toxins from its prey which consists of venomous toads. While sequestering defensive toxins from prey is unusual among terrestrial vertebrates it is not unknown. Research published last year by Valerie C. Clark of Cornell University showed that poison dart frogs (Dendrobates species) and their Madagascar counterparts, the Mantella frogs, sequester toxic skin chemicals, called alkaloids, from the ants they eat. These alkaloids protect the frogs from predation. Similarly, some garter snakes are known to store tetrodotoxin from ingested newts while birds in New Guinea appear to sequester poisons from insects.
China uses snake-based earthquake prediction system
A province in southern China has come up with a unique way to predict earthquakes: snakes. According to China Daily and as reported by Reuters, the earthquake bureau in Nanning, capital of the Guangxi province, has set up a 24-hour video feed to monitor the behavior of snakes at snake farms. The scientists say that snakes are particularly sensitive to vibrations caused by impending earthquakes.
The science behind 'Snakes on a Plane'
Even in the dark, snakes on a plane could keep a close watch on terrorized passengers and crew thanks to small cavities near their snouts known as pit organs, according to a forthcoming article by Andreas B. Sichert, Paul Friedel, and J. Leo van Hemmen published in Physical Review Letters.
Venomous snakes key to human evolution says new theory
The ability to spot venomous snakes may have played a major role in the evolution of monkeys, apes and humans, according to a new hypothesis by Lynne Isbell, professor of anthropology at UC Davis. The work is published in the July issue of the Journal of Human Evolution.
Color-changing chameleon snake discovered in jungles of Borneo
Scientists discovered a species of snake capable of changing colors. The snake, called the Kapuas mud snake, resides in the rainforest on the island of Borneo, an ecosystem that is increasingly threatened by logging and agricultural development.
Python explodes after swallowing 6-foot alligator in Florida Everglades
The National Park Service released photos that show the carcass of an American alligator that was almost swallowed by a Burmese python.
Rainforest Canopy - Amphibians, Reptiles, Invertebrates
Frogs are overwhelmingly the most abundant amphibians in the rainforest. Unlike temperate frogs that are mostly limited to habitats near water, tropical frogs are most abundant in the trees, and relatively few are found near bodies of water on the forest floor. The reason for this is quite simple: frogs must always keep their skin moist since almost half of their respiration in carried out through the skin. The high humidity of the rainforest and frequent rainstorms gives tropical frogs infinitely more freedom to move into the trees and escape the many predators of rainforest waters. The differences between temperate and tropical frogs extend beyond their habitat. Whereas nearly all temperate frogs lay their eggs in water, the majority of rainforest species place eggs in vegetation or lay them in the ground. By leaving the water, frogs avoid egg-predators like fish, shrimp, aquatic insects, and insect larvae. Several species of frogs, including the American glass frogs, lay their eggs on vegetation that overhangs water. The humid climate keeps the eggs moist and when the tadpoles hatch they drop into the water below. Glass frogs are also interesting because they are transparent except for their visible organs and the faint yellow spots that some species possess. These yellow spots resemble a cluster of the frog's eggs, enough to fool predators. Other frog species develop fully into froglets within their eggs, and emerge as fully formed frogs, thus by-passing the tadpole stage altogether..
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