Burmese Python

The Burmese Python is one of the six largest snakes in the world. They’re average length is about 3.7 meters (12 feet) long, but it may reach up to 5.74 meters, and can weigh up to 200 pounds. These huge constrictors are native to the jungles and grassy marshes of Southeast Asia.

The Burmese Python, when young, will spend much of their time in the trees. However, as they mature and their size and weight make tree climbing unwieldy, they transition to mainly ground-dwelling. They are also excellent swimmers, and can stay submerged for up to 30 minutes before surfacing for air.

Burmese pythons, like all snakes, are carnivores. Their diet mainly consists of small sized mammals and birds. They have poor eyesight, making them have to stalk their prey using chemical receptors in their tongues and heat-sensors along the jaws. The snake uses its sharp rearward-pointing teeth to seize its prey, then it wraps its body around the prey, at the same time contracting its muscles, killing the prey by constriction. Since they have stretchy ligaments, their jaws are able to allow them to swallow their food whole.

~*~*~ fun fact ~*~*~ “Baby,” an ironically named Burmese python living at the Serpent Safari Park in Illinois, is 27 feet (8.23 meters) long and holds the record as the world’s heaviest living snake at 403 pounds (183 kilograms).

~ Works Cited ~

"Burmese Python." National Geographic. National Geographic Society, n.d. Web. 09 May 2013.

"Burmese Python." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 05 June 2013. Web. 09 May 2013.

 

Rattlesnakes

Rattlesnakes received their name from the rattle located at the end of their tails, which, when shaken, makes a loud rattling noise that deters predators or serves as a warning to passersby.

Rattlesnakes are highly specialized, venomous reptiles with large bodies and triangle-shaped heads. They are natives to the Americas, living in different types of habitats from Southwestern Canada to Central Argentina. Most of them though, live in Southwest America and Mexico. In the United States, the states with the most types of rattlesnakes are Texas and Arizona. They can be able to live in a variety of habitats, including the forest, grasslands, swamps, and deserts.

Rattlesnakes consume mice, rats, small birds and other small animals,playing an important ecological role by limiting the size of rodent populations, which prevents crop damage and stabilizes ecosystems. They lay in wait for a small mammal to venture nearby and then strike the unsuspecting animal with its venomous fangs ( this hunting technique is called ambush predation). A rattlesnake’s prey is killed with a venomous bite, as opposed to constricting.

The rattlesnake knows when to lay low, because they have specialized Jacobson’s organs that give them a heightened sense of smell to detect prey. These organs are located on the roof of the mouth, which is why many people think that snakes smell with their tongues.

To a rattlesnake, a meal lasts much more longer than to a human- an adult only needs to eat once every two weeks!

   

works cited-

"Rattlesnake." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 25 Apr. 2013. Web. 28 Apr. 2013.

"Rattlesnakes." - National Wildlife Federation. National Wildlife Federation, n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2013.

Agkistrodon piscivorus

Agkistrodon piscivorus (most commonly known as the cottonmouth or the water moccasin) , a species of pit viper, is a venomous snake found in the southeastern United States. They are the largest species of the genus Agkistrodon. Adults commonly exceed 80 cm (31.5 in) in length, females growing smaller than males. In the eastern part of their range, they may grow up to 180cm (71in). The largest recorded specimen was 188cm (74cm). Though the majority of specimens are almost or even totally black, (with the exception of head and facial markings), the color pattern may consist of a brown, gray, tan, yellowish-olive or blackish ground color, which is overlaid with a series of 10-17 dark brown to almost black crossbands. As the snake ages, the dorsal banding pattern fades, so older individuals are an almost uniform olive brown, grayish-brown or black.

The Agkistrodon piscivorus is often confused with the copperhead, Agkistrodon piscivorus. This mostly happens to the juveniles, but there are several differences between these two. A. piscivorus has broad, dark stripes on the sides of its head that extend back from the eye, whereas A. contortrix has only a thin dark line that divides the pale supralabials from the somewhat darker color of the head. 

Common names for the Agkistrodon piscivorus usually refer to the threat display, where this species will often stand its ground and gape at an intruder, exposing the white lining of its mouth.  When antagonized, they will stand their ground by coiling their bodies and displaying their fangs. People exaggerate on their aggression, when actually only on rare occasions will they approach intruders in an aggressive manner.

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works cited-

"Agkistrodon Piscivorus." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 19 Apr. 2013. Web. 25 Apr. 2013.

King Cobra 

spitting cobra 

Ringhals cobra 

~ Cobras ~

Cobras belong to the family Elapidae. When disturbed, most cobras can rear up and spread their necks (also  called hoods) in order to display threat. Their hoods are created by the extension of the ribs behind the cobras’ heads.

The king cobra is the world’s largest venomous snake with an average length of 12 feet, but holds the record length of 24 feet. The king cobra is highly aggressive, extremely fast and agile, and injects a larger amount of venom per bite (as much as 600 mg) than most snakes.  An adult human can die from a single bite in less than 15 minutes. That makes the king cobra one of the most deadly and most feared snakes in the world. The king cobra can be found in the Philippines, Malaysia, southern China, Burma, and the Malay Peninsula.

Most cobras are natives of Africa. One of them is the spitting, or black-necked cobra, found from southern Egypt to northern South Africa. This snake can accurately spray its venom from a distance of about 8 feet. The varieties of color in a spitting cobra range from dull black to pink, the lighter-colored ones marked by a black band around the neck.

The Ringhals, a different type of spitting cobra confined to southern Africa, are the smallest, reaching only about 4 feet in length. It is dark brown or black with ridged, or keeled, scales and light rings on the neck.

Contrary to folklore, cobras will very rarely attack people without being provoked first, but when disturbed, they make full use of their deadly bite.

Works Cited:

"Cobra Information Page 1." Introduction. Web-based COBRA Administration, 1 Mar. 1994. Web. 21 Apr. 2013.

"Cobra." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 15 Apr. 2013. Web. 21 Apr. 2013.

Snakes.

Snakes belong to the order Squamata. There are about 2,500 species of snakes all around the world. Snakes live practically everywhere, in every single continent, except Antartica. A few islands- such as Ireland, Iceland, and New Zealand- are also snake free. Some snakes inhabit in freshwater, others the sea, but the majority live on land. In size, snakes can be from as little as four inches to up to thirty feet.

Snakes are long, carnivorous, and legless reptiles from the suborder Serpentes. Like all squamates, snakes are endothermic and are covered in overlapping scales. Most species are nonvenomous and those that have venom use it primarily to kill and subdue prey rather than for self-defense. Many snakes employ two methods of killing: constriction or venom.

Snakes that are constrictors wrap their bodies around their prey, and suffocate them. Two types of snakes that use toxic venom to kill their prey are elapids and vipers.

- Elapid snakes inject poison through two small, fixed fangs in the front of the mouth. An example of an elapid is a cobra.

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-Vipers inject venom through large, mobile fangs in the front of the mouth. Examples of vipers include rattlesnakes and moccasins.

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In each case, prey is swallowed whole.

Works Cited:

"Snakes- Introduction to Snake." Discovery Communications, n.d. web.17 May 2013.

Wikipedia- Snakes.” Wikimedia Foundations. 4 May 2013. Web. 17 May 2013.