Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Slithery Snakes

Naked Facts (General information about snakes):
  • All snakes are carnivorous or you can say they only eat meat.
    • Some snakes have a venomous bite, which they use to kill their prey before eating it.
    • Other snakes kill their prey by constriction or called 'wrapping you up and then squeezing you to death'.
    • Still others swallow their prey whole and alive.
  • Snakes are covered in scales. Most snakes use specialized belly scales to travel, gripping surfaces.
  • They shed their skin periodically. The primary purpose of shedding is to grow; shedding also removes external parasites.
  • Venom VS poison: The term poisonous snake is mostly false - poison is inhaled or ingested whereas venom is injected. A venomous snake is a snake that uses modified saliva, venom, delivered through fangs in its mouth, to immobilize or kill its prey.
Too Much Information:
  • Unlike other reptiles, shedding for snakes is usually done in one piece, like pulling off a sock, with the snake rubbing its nose against something rough, like a rock, for instance, creating a rip in the skin around the nose and the mouth until the skin is completely removed.
  • It is a common misconception that snakes actually dislocate their lower jaw to consume large prey. Actually as snakes do not chew their food and have a very flexible lower jaw, the two halves of which are not rigidly attached, and numerous other joints in their skull, allowing them to open their mouths wide enough to swallow their prey whole, even if it is larger in diameter than the snake itself.

Fabulous four (Mangrove) snakes:

Common Characteristics:

  • All of them are aquatic.
  • Their eyes are positioned on the top of their heads so that they can remain with their body submerged in water and yet are able to see above the surface.
  • All of them have poisonous fangs on the back of their jaws, but their venom is not known to have any serious effects on humans.
  • All of them give birth to living young, and appear to be largely nocturnal in habits.

Dog-faced Water snake or Bockadam, Cerberus rynchops feeds largely on fish trapped in mud puddles during the low tide.

Yellow-lipped Water snake, Gerarda prevostiana, is less common. It specialises in feeding on newly-moulted crabs.

Cantor’s Water snake, Cantoria violacea, is a rarely seen and extremely long species with markings similar to that of the venomous sea snakes (family Elapidae, or Hydrophiidae). It feeds on snapping shrimps.

Crab-eating Water snake, Fordonia leucobalia, is believed to live mainly in mud-lobster mounds and feeds on hard-shelled crabs.

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