Scientists discovered and now described a previously unknown species of snake. Oddly though, they didn't collect this snake in the wild but rather found it inside the belly of another snake. The University of Texas at Arlington biologists have given the snack snake the official name of Cenaspis aenigma ("mysterious dinner snake.") From National Geographic:
This species has unique features that separate it from its relatives, including the shape of the its skull, the covering of its hemipenis—its reproductive structure—and the scales under its tail.
In 1976, in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, palm-harvesters working deep in one of the region’s forests found a Central American coral snake—a vibrantly-colored species with neurotoxic venom. When researchers obtained it, they found that its last meal was another smaller serpent.
This ten inch-long, male snake was something special, as it didn’t match any known species, so the specimen was preserved in a museum collection. The research team returned to the area at least a dozen more times over several decades, but never found a living representative of the odd snake species.
More in the scientific paper: "Caudals and Calyces: The Curious Case of a Consumed Chiapan Colubroid" (Journal of Herpetology)
(image: rendering of Cenaspis aenigma by Gabriel Ugueto)
Read the rest
Over the weekend, firefighters in Conroe, Texas responded to a house fire caused by Christmas tree lights. When they arrived, they were faced with more than 100 snakes and numerous lizards. From CNN:
The reptiles -- which, according to CNN affiliate KTRK included several five- to six-foot-long pythons and boa constrictors -- were in glass cases but still needed to be carried outside the house. With the help of the home's owners, fire crews ferried the snakes to safety...
"The homeowner wasn't willing to give a lot of information on why they had so many snakes. In fact, they told us the snakes don't like people in uniform," Flannelly added. "But as firefighters, we will do anything to help anybody."
Several reptiles died in the fire but the ones that were rescued were transferred to a local facility and are expected to be okay, KTRK reported.
Read the rest
This snake has a mission. It slithers quickly into an open door police station in northern Thailand and makes it way to a visitor who is at the station to report an incident.
Without provocation, the snake leaps at the man. The man panics for a bit, but handles the situation like a champ. After a few moments of trying to fight it off with his legs and feet, he manages to grab the snake at both ends and carry it off. He even seems a bit amused, offering it to an officer before taking it outside.
Seems like this isn't the first time this dude has had to deal with a snake.
Via YouTube Read the rest
A staff meeting at a bank in Nanning, southern China was interrupted when a 5-foot python fell from the ceiling. CCTV video below. From Yahoo!7:
A snake catcher was called to retrieve the python, which will be sent to a local wildlife conservation centre.
According to online reports, this is the second time a snake has slipped into this branch of the bank.
Read the rest
After discovering a snake sunning itself, presumably on its turf, this squirrel went all NIMBY on its legless interloper. Behold: a death of 1,000 nibbles.
Admittedly, the camera work here is kinda lousy, but the fight is absolutely fascinating. I knew that squirrels could be vicious, but the careful, prolonged attack the rodent dishes out on what you'd have assumed would be the more dangerous of the two species involved in this scuffle is really something else. Read the rest
For nearly two months now, the people of Poland have been captivated by the tale of a missing 16-foot python that is believed to be slithering around Warsaw still. Read the rest
Mike Greene of Lattimore, North Carolina is a good neighbor. When the 88-year-old man down the street called Mike to help get a snake out of his toilet, he was happy to help. After all, he'd had plenty of practice.
"When I arrived, only the tail of the snake was visible, so I had to reach in and pull the snake out of the toilet," Greene says. "It was a very long black rat snake, about 6-feet-long. This was the sixth snake that I have removed from the same toilet in the past four years."
Read the rest
In the video below, a rooster in India tangles with a deadly cobra that can deliver enough venom in one bite to kill 20 people, and many more roosters. From National Geographic:
The rooster pushes the cobra away from the other chickens, sometimes dropping and pecking at it and sometimes running with the snake dangling from its beak. The bobbing movements of the rooster seem well-suited for this kind of fight, making it harder for the cobra to strike with its lethal venom.
At the end of the encounter, the rooster swallows the weakened snake whole, sliding the reptile into its beak as the creature’s muscles coil uselessly a couple more times.
Read the rest
A 90-year-old woman in Mobile, AL wasn't going to let a venomous snakebite ruin her day. On her way to her weekly Crafty Critters club at church, Nell Toenes thought she saw a pretty leaf and picked it up. It turned out to be a snake that bit her in the hand. Read the rest
Jerry Kimball of Sioux Falls, South Dakota received a $190 ticket because he failed to put a leash on his pet boa constrictor, Lucy, when he took her to a park. “He was literally asking me to put a rope around my snake,” Kimball told The Argus Leader. “I was like ‘dude, no.’ I was dumbfounded.”
Animal Control Supervisor Julie DeJong told the paper that the ticket was appropriate. “Snakes fall under the same restrictions as cats and dogs,” she stressed. Read the rest
After going down a rabbit hole of watching snakes drinking water, I can say this is the best one: a two-headed albino snake, with one head fighting with the other on getting some water. NEED SNEK DRINX PLS BRO. Read the rest
Researchers in a southern Brazil grassland spotted a tarantula munching on a foot-long snake. It's the first time a tarantula having this particularly hearty meal has been documented in the wild. The non-venomous snake is a Erythrolamprus almadensis and the tarantula is a Grammostola quirogai that boasts .8-inch long fangs. Federal University of Santa Maria graduate student Leandro Malta Borges found the dining tarantula under a rock. From National Geographic:
As Borges looked on, the tarantula huddled over the decomposing snake, chowing down on the exposed, liquefied guts.
In their description of the scene, published in Herpetology Notes in December 2016, the researchers chalk up the snake’s demise to an accidental break-in. In Serra do Caverá, many tarantula species, in particular sedentary females, hide in the rocks.
“Most likely, the snake was surprised upon entering the spider’s environment and hence [was] subdued by it,” the researchers write.
(photo by Gabriela Franzoi Dri) Read the rest
The Texas Park and Wildlife Department recently posted this photo of a particularly stylish Western rat snake.
Read the rest
I think rubbing them was superfluous -- they seemed to be in a hurry to away. Read the rest
Waffle, a baby Shai-Hulud (terrestrial name: Kenyan sand boa), enjoys his new sandbox. His human companion, Jenny Gaines, says:
Read the rest
He's one of my "Reptile Ambassadors" in my educational reptile show business, Waffle & Friends Reptile Shows. My goal is public outreach to help spread understanding and appreciation of reptiles - especially snakes, who are so unfairly treated.
Why would Alcott Smith, at the time nearly seventy, affable and supposedly of sound mind, a blue-eyed veterinarian with a whittled-down woodman’s frame and lupine stamina, abruptly change his plans (and clothes) for a quiet Memorial Day dinner with his companion, Lou-Anne, and drive from his home in New Hampshire to New York State, north along the western rim of a wild lake, to a cabin on a corrugated dirt lane called Porcupine Hollow? Inside the cabin fifteen men quaffed beer, while outside a twenty-five- inch rattlesnake with a mouth full of porcupine quills idled in a homemade rabbit hutch. It was the snake that had interrupted Smith’s holiday dinner.
Excerpted from Ted Levin's America's Snake. Available from Amazon.
Because of a cascade of consequences there aren’t many left in the Northeast: timber rattlesnakes are classified as a threatened species in New York and an endangered species everywhere in New England except Maine and Rhode Island where they’re already extinct. They could be gone from New Hampshire before the next presidential primary. Among the cognoscenti it’s speculated whether timber rattlesnakes ever lived in Quebec; they definitely did in Ontario, where rattlesnakes inhabited the sedimentary shelves of the Niagara Gorge but eventually died off like so many failed honeymoons consummated in the vicinity of the falls.
That rattlesnakes still survive in the Northeast may come as a big surprise to you, but that they have such an impassioned advocate might come as an even bigger surprise. Actually, rattlesnakes have more than a few advocates, both the affiliated and the unaffiliated, and as is so often the case, this is a source of emotional and political misunderstandings, turf battles and bruised egos. Read the rest
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