This dinosaur-like bird enjoys kicking snakes

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The secretary bird looks and moves like I'd imagine a dinosaur looked and moved. Here is one giving a rubber snake the business.

From Reuters: "Scientists are studying the snake-hunting ability of the secretary bird from sub-Saharan Africa, which can kick a snake to death with a force five times its own body weight." Read the rest

When snakes attack at Lowe's

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A 4.5-foot copperhead snake, hidden in a tree, bit an employee at the Lowe's in in Denver, North Carolina. WPXI reports that "this could happen at any store that sells trees." Read the rest

This cat is freaked out by a snake in a toad's mouth

Wouldn't you be too? (via Dangerous Minds)

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Snake head found inside can of green beans

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Troy Walker of Farmington, Utah was cooking dinner for a church function when she opened a can of green beans and discovered a snake's head inside!

“As I got closer to lift it off the spoon, I saw eyes," she told 60abc.com. "That’s when I dropped it and screamed."

The manufacturer, Western Family, promised to investigate.

I'd like to remind the reader that Walker was making food for church and that a snake is a symbol of the devil. Just sayin'.

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World's coolest walking cane

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The Minnesotastan says: "One of my prized possessions is a walking stick that was hand-carved for me by an elderly man in Kentucky when I used to live and work there. The one above was carved by a craftsman in Oregon from a single stick of wood. Here is his video documenting the process."

Mike Stinnet made this copperhead walking cane. He has an Etsy store with other wondrous carvings and paintings. Read the rest

Amateur vaccine developer has let venomous snakes bite him 160 times

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Tim Friede, 37, has been working on a snake venom vaccine for 16 years, allowing himself to be bitten by venomous snakes nearly once a month.

To prove his self-immunization theory works, Tim from Wisconsin, USA, recently took back-to-back bites from two of the world’s deadliest snakes – a taipan and a black mamba whose bite can kill in minutes. Unsurprisingly, his obsession with saving the tens of thousands of lives lost every year to snakebites has nearly killed him on a number of occasions and also cost him his marriage. His wife Beth Friede, 35, divorced him in October after 20 years together when she finally had enough of Tim’s snake obsession. Despite the controversial nature of his experiments Tim does have some backing from the scientific community. Dr Brian Hanley, a PhD Microbiologist from the University of California, says a test suggests Tim now has twice the number of antibodies and hopes his company Butterfly Sciences will help him develop his vaccine and find investors to get it into the field.

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Ancient Greeks used snakes as projectile weapons

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People in ancient Greece used snakes as projectile weapons during sea battles, explains Gianni Insacco, a zoologist/paleontologist at Italy's Insacco Museo Civico di Storia Naturale.

Insacco's research team just reported that one of the weaponized species, the Javelin Sand Boa that was likely introduced to Italy by the Greeks during wartime, has survived in Sicily after not having been spotted for nearly 100 years.

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Watch a rattlesnake strike a GoPro camera

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A fellow was recording rattlesnakes when one struck the device, knocking it into a pit teeming with the serpents. More footage below:

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Gentleman snake

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This snake, outfitted in plasticine finery, is ready for a slithering good time. Read the rest

We were wrong about how boa constrictors kill their prey

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Since we were kids, we've been taught that a boa constrictor wraps itself around its prey and suffocate it. A new study suggests that's incorrect. Read the rest

Venomous snake kills teenage pet store worker, then escapes

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A venomous monocled cobra has escaped near Austin, Texas after biting and killing an 18-year-old pet store employee who was keeping it at his home. Grant Thompson was found unresponsive in a parking lot with puncture wounds on his wrist. He was pronounced dead at the hospital. Police found six tarantulas, a foot-long non-venomous Mexican hognose snake, and an African bullfrog in Thompson's car.

Austin Animal Services is not going to look for the snake. “It would be like looking for a needle in a haystack,” said Austin Animal Services spokeswoman Patricia Fraga.

Monocled cobras are native to South and Southeast Asia. They are highly venomous and very common in Thailand. According to Wikipedia: the "monocled cobra causes the highest fatality due to snake venom poisoning in Thailand."

Thailand Snakes has a good info page about monocled cobras, where they are described as "fierce."

Here's a video that is likely to make you respectful towards monocled cobras:

Image: Shutterstock Read the rest

Scariest snake on the planet

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The split-tailed horned viper has the head of a snake but its tail looks like a spider. This adaptation allows it to attract birds to munch on.

Nature sure is beautiful, but also as scary as fuck.

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Terrorists killed by possessed bees and snakes

Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram, known for kidnapping hundreds of school girls, are fleeing their forest hideouts to escape "mystical bees" and "mysterious snakes" that are physical manifestations of the people they have killed. Read the rest

Afraid of snakes? Don't watch.

In the winter, tens of thousands of red-sided garter snakes gather in the Narcisse Snake Pits of Manitoba, Candada to mate. Read the rest

Snake species missing for nearly 80 years rediscovered

This 18-inch Clarion Nightsnake (Hypsiglena unaocularus), found on black lava rock habitat on the island of Clarion, is darker in color than its mainland relatives and has a distinctive pattern of spots on its head and neck. The Clarion Nightsnake, which was initially discovered in the first half of the 19th century and then struck from the scientific record, was rediscovered and declared a new species by National Museum of Natural History researcher Daniel Mulcahy and a team of Mexican scientists led by ecologist Juan Martínez-Gómez in May 2014. (Photo courtesy of Daniel Mulcahy)

A science mystery, solved! After going missing for 78 years, the Clarion nightsnake (Hypsiglena ochrorhyncha unaocularus), a nocturnal snake first discovered in the 19th century, then struck from the scientific record, has been rediscovered. Read the rest

Tongues aren't just for smelling

After you spent all that time in grade school conditioning yourself to know that snakes stick out their tongues in order to smell things, it turns out that those tricksy animals were also tasting with their tongues, all along. Read the rest

Decapitated copperhead bites self

"It finally quit movin' though, now that it bit itself," says our intrepid narrator.

And that, writes wildlife ecologist David Steen, could have something to do with the fact that a decapitated copperhead head can still inject venom. More importantly, if it did, the rest of the snake's body likely wouldn't have any special defense against that venom.

This isn't an area where there has been a lot of research and experimentation (just imagine the required permits!), but snakes do not have special immunity from their own venom. When venom is stored in a snake's body, it is located within specially-evolved glands that can safely contain it. This is the same basic idea that allows us to hold potentially harmful stuff in our appendix or gall bladder. If chemicals escaped from a snake's venom gland (or our appendix or gall bladder), it would be bad news.

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