Tag Archive: snakes


TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata (scaled reptiles, all lizards and snakes)
Suborder: Serpentes (snakes are elongated, legless, carnivorous reptiles)
Family: Viperidae  (vipers, venomous snakes)
Subfamily: Crotalinae (Pit Vipers, crotaline snakes, or pit adders)

Genus/species: Agkistrodon contortrix

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: They have distinctive reddish-brown bodies with a crossband pattern consisting of tan, copper, and brown colors that extending throughout its body. Its colors enhance its camouflage in leaf litter in wooded habitats. Heat sensitive pit organs are present between the eye and the nostril.
Length up to 53 inches

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DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Found in deciduous forest and mixed woodlands in the central and eastern U.S.A. They are also found in swamps. Subspecies are recognized by slight changes in color pattern shape and hue. The Southern Copperhead extends through Massachusetts, westward to Texas and southeastern Nebraska.

DIET IN THE WILD: Diurnal, ambush predators feeding on small mammals (rodents primarily), birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects.

REPRODUCTION: Usually viviparous but Southern Copperheads can reproduce asexually through parthenogenesis. Females kept in captivity in the absence of males periodically produce one fully developed neonate along with a group of aborted ova.

LONGEVITY: Up to 29 years in captivity. Average 15 years in the wild.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Least Concern

REMARKS: Copperheads are venomous but their venom is somewhat mild compared to other snake species. It usually not fatal to healthy human adults.

References

California Academy Of Sciences Swamp Feb. 5, 2016

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/24836741386/in/photostream/

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1E

Animal Diversity Web  animaldiversity.org/accounts/Agkistrodon_contortrix/

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Boidae

Genus/species: Boa constrictor constrictor

Red-tailed Boa IMG_0186

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The background color is cream or brown that is marked with dark “saddle-shaped” bands. The head of a boa constrictor has 3 distinctive stripes. First is a line that runs dorsally from the snout to the back of the head. Second, there is a dark triangle between the snout and the eye. Third, this dark triangle is continued behind the eye, where it slants downward towards the jaw. However, there are many variations on appearance.
Length to 13 feet (3.9 m) as adults. Generally between 2 and 3 meters(6.5 – 10 feet) in length. Weigh 40 to 50 pounds.

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Exclusive to the New World (Mexico to Argentina). Boa constrictors are both terrestrial and arboreal. They are found in deserts, wet tropical forests, open savanna, and cultivated fields, and from sea level to moderate elevation having the least need for water of all boas.

DIET IN THE WILD: They ate aglyphous, meaning they do not possess any elongated fangs. Instead, they have rows of long, recurved teeth of about the same size. Teeth are continuously replaced. They are carnivores eating small mammals, including bats, and birds or anything that fits in their mouths. Prey are killed by constriction and swollen whole taking 4-6 days to digest.

REPRODUCTION: Fertilization is internal. The male uses pelvic spurs (hind leg remnants found on either side of the cloacal opening) to aid the use of hemipenes (double penis) for cloacal insertion. Females give birth to live young (ave. 25 in number).

Red-tailed Boa 2775385563_c91e7827ff_o

MORTALITY: Lifespan, 25-30 years.

PREDATORS  Include humans, jaguars, and crocodile 

CONSERVATION : IUCN Red list; not evaluated.

REMARKS: In Mexico and South America, they are valued as destroyers of rodents. B. constrictor constrictor have been “domesticated” for this reason.

Color of Life Note: The Red-Tailed Boa demonstrates concealment with its beige and dark brown markings hiding it in the filtered light coming through tree branches and leaves.

References

California Academy of Sciences Flooded Amazon Exhibit 2015

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-VA

Ron’s flickr  http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608449603666/

U. of Michigan Animal Diversity Web animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/ site/ accounts/ information/ Boa_constrictor.html.

Smithsonian National Zoological Park  http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/ReptilesAmphibians/Facts/FactSheets/Boaconstrictor.cfm

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Boida (Boas)

Genus/species: Eunectes murinus

Anaconda 8629891977_66e2cd6195_b

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS  Can grow to more than 29 feet (8.8 meters), weigh more than 227 kilograms (550 pounds) and measure more than 30 cm (12 in) (30 centimeters) in diameter. Gigantic, heavy-bodied, dark green boa with dark spots.  A distinctive stripe runs from the rear edge of the eye, diagonally downwards to the back of the head. The stripe is edged with black and varies in colouration, from greenish to orange. Eyes and nasal openings are on top of their heads, allowing them to lay in wait for prey while remaining nearly completely submerged. The female dwarfs the male and is almost five times heavier. 

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT South America: Amazon and Orinoco drainages from Colombia and Venezuela to East Bolivia and Central Brazil. Associated strongly with watercourses, swamps and other freshwater locations.

DIET IN THE WILD Monkeys, deer, peccaries, pacas, agoutis, birds, fish, caiman and turtles. Prey usually killed by constriction; prey suffocates but is not crushed. Usually feed in water. Jaws attached by stretchy ligaments allow them to swallow their prey whole, no matter the size, and they can go weeks or months without food after a big meal. Primarily a lie-in-wait predator.

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REPRODUCTION  Female anacondas retain their eggs and give birth to two to three dozen live young. Baby snakes are about 0.6 meters (2 ft). After mating, the female may eat one or more of her mating partners, as she does not take in food for up to seven months.

MORTALITY/LONGEVITY: Lives to over 29 years.

REMARKS: The anaconda is, pound for pound, the largest snake in the world. Its cousin, the reticulated python, can reach slightly greater lengths, but the enormous girth of the anaconda makes it almost twice as heavy. Can remained submerged for a very long time lying in wait for its next meal.
The California Academy of Sciences specimen is a female. Length/wt 2013: 13 ft 11 inches long and weight 92 lbs.
2008 she was 3m (10 feet) long and weighed 90 lbs.

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Color of Life Note: The dark brownish-green Anaconda demonstrates concealment by laying hidden in the murky waters of the Amazon. It is more visible at the California Academy of Sciences exhibit water which is markedly more transparent.

LOCATION: Amazon flooded forest exhibit

References

California Academy of Sciences

U. of Michigan Animal diversity Web animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Eunectes_murinus/

Encyclopedia of Life  eol.org/pages/794661/overview

 Ron’sWordpress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-bt

Ron’s flickr   http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608449603666/with/3636385495/

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae (Colubrids)

Genus/species: Ahaetulla fronticincta


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GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Pencil thin, delicate; green and brown scales. Bulbous wide-set raised eyes.   Length to 60 cm (23.5 inches). 

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Myanmar (formerly Burma) Mostly arboreal in brackish mangrove swamps. Diurnal hunter of small fish: gobies, and rice fish. 

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DIET IN THE WILD: Diurnal hunter of small fish: gobies, and rice fish. Prey immobilized with mild venom  from enlarged rear fangs. Visually oriented hunter.

REPRODUCTION: Fertilization internal. Viviparous. Newborn snakes are a subtle shade of brown. Polymorphic: some adults turn green, brown, or more rarely two-toned.
The Steinhart Aquarium was the first to display this species. Academy field research on this little-known species continues. An arboreally-adapted species that consumes fishes is an oddity. In the Steinhart, feed on guppies and goldfish. Steinhart’s vine shakes have bred and reproduced in captivity, a first for this species.

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Color is Life: Pencil thin, delicate; green and brown scales conceal these snakes in the bushes along the banks of tidal rivers in brackish mangrove swamps.

CONSERVATION: IUCN  Least Concern (LC)

Water Planet, Feeding Cluster 

References

California Academy of Sciences Water is Life Exhibit

https://search.yahoo.com/search?ei=utf-8&fr=aaplw&p=steinhart+Burmese+Vine+Snake+video

IUCN Red List  www.iucnredlist.org/details/192058/0

Encyclopedia of Life  eol.org/pages/1057253/details

Ron’s flickr  http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608449603666/

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-OM

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Viperidae

Genus/species: Crotalus adamanteus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: They have a large head with a light bordered dark stripe running diagonally through the eye and a large pit between the nostril and eye.. The body is bulky with a row of large dark diamonds with brown centers and cream borders down its back. The ground color of the body ranges from olive, to brown, to almost black. The tail has a well-developed rattle. Maximum length to 7 feet (average length 33 to 72 inches).

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DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Endemic to the southeast of the United States. Found in in the coastal lowlands, barrier islands. Occasionally it may venture into salt water, swimming to the outlying Keys off the Florida coast.

DIET IN THE WILD; C. adamanteus is crepuscular and are most active in the evening or early morning. They feed primarily on small mammals, from mice to rabbits. Location of the prey is by odor, as well as by sensing the infrared waves (heat) given off by their warm-blooded prey.

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REPRODUCTION: Brood size ranges from 6 to 21. The gestation period is six to seven months. Young are born live, in retreats such as gopher tortoise burrows or hollow logs and can live over 20 years.

PREDATORS: Young are taken by hogs, carnivorous mammals (the gray fox), raptors (the red-tailed hawk), and other snakes (especially king snakes). Adults have no natural predators.

CONSERVATION: Red List (LC) Least concern but the population is decreasing due to fragmentation by agriculture, forestry practices and urbanization.

REMARKS: It preys on rats, mice, rabbits, and other small mammals, many of which are pests to humans.
It can strike up to 2/3 its body length; a 6-foot specimen may strike 4 feet. It has potent venom with a mortality rate for humans is nearly 40 percent. The only acceptable treatment for venomous snakebite, involves the use of antivenom.

Color of Life note: Pit vipers, boas and pythons have heat sensing organs which detect infrared (IR) wavelengths on their face.  The snake can tell the direction from which a signal originates, depending on where the nerve signal strikes a membrane. This partnership between heat detection and visual sensory inputs allows the snake to detect its warm-blooded prey, even when it is too dark to pick out prey from the background.

Ref: California Academy of Sciences Color of Life Exhibit 2015.

References 

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/8359753686/in/album-72157652559028013/

Ron’s WordPress shortlink http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1yT

Florida Museum of Natural History www.flmnh.ufl.edu/herpetology/fl-snakes/list/crotalus-ada…

IUCN Red List  www.iucnredlist.org/details/64308/0

Animal Diversity Web  animaldiversity.org/accounts/Crotalus_adamanteus/

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata (chordates with backbones)
Class: Reptilia (turtles, crocodilians, snakes, lizards and tuatara
Order: Squamata (scaled reptiles)
Suborder: Serpentes (snakes)
Family: Pythonidae (pythons)

Genus/species: Morelia viridis

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Adults are green with a distinct ridge of scales that is usually white to yellow in coloration and forms a broken or continuous line down the length of the body.
Ventrally, the scales are generally yellow. Juveniles may be either bright yellow or brick-red. They have series of white blotches edged in black or brown. A white streak edged in black runs from the nostril through the eye and to the back of the head.
Average length of 1.5 m (5 ft); with the largest up to 2.2 m (7.2 ft).

 

Morelia viridis18399138824_510cf00ea1_k

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Found in the Mainland New Guinea, its offshore islands, and in eastern Indonesia and in the northeast Cape York Peninsula of Australia. Found mainly in moist forests from lowland to mid-montane altitudes.

DIET IN THE WILD: They are nocturnal hunter when larger nocturnal prey are active as well. M. viridis changes color when it changes its diet from small reptiles and invertebrates to rodents and birds in the rainforest canopy.

Morelia viridis19021843505_b2a60523a7_o

REPRODUCTION: M. viridis exhibit some maternal care by brooding their eggs before they hatch. Females have been observed coiling around their clutches. They will often shiver and contract their coils, apparently to produce metabolic heat and thus maintaining a temperature, which ranges from 84 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit.
Yellow and red individuals averaging 30.5 cm (12.8 inches) in length hatch out of 6 to 32 eggs in captivity but colors are separate on different islands.

PREDATORS: Main predators of green tree pythons are rufous owls, black butcherbirds, and an assortment of diurnal raptors.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List Least Concern (LC)
Threats: It is becoming increasingly popular in the pet trade.

REMARKS: Each color stage appears to provide camouflage suitable to its immediate habitat. As a young snake, the red or yellow color blends in better in forest gaps or edges, where smaller animals reside. Adult green coloration blends in best in the closed canopy of the rainforest, where larger prey live.

References

California Academy of Sciences, Color of Life exhibit June 2015

IUCN Red List www.iucnredlist.org/details/177524/0

Animal Diversity Web  animaldiversity.org/accounts/Morelia_viridis/

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/18399138824/in/album-72157652559028013/

Ron’s WordPress shortlink http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1xT

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata (chordates with backbones)
Class: Reptilia (turtles, crocodilians, snakes, lizards and tuatara
Order: Squamata (scaled reptiles)
Suborder: Serpentes (snakes)
Family: Boidae (boas)

Genus/species: Corallus caninus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Adults are typically emerald-green, juveniles are yellow to orange to brown. This individual has striking white markings occurring along the dorsal midline, but some populations lack them. C. caninus has two tiny spurs on either side of its cloaca opening thought to be the evolutionary remnants of hind legs.

Length up to 2.2 m (7.2 feet).

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DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: C. caninus are found lowland tropical rainforests in the Amazonian and Guianan regions of South America.They are arboreal species that spend most of their time in the rainforest canopy foliage. 

They Use the “concertina” method of tree climbing. It holds on to the trunk with its tail and lower part of its body, reaches up with its head and hooks its neck around the trunk. Then it releases its hold with the tail and pulls the rear part of its body up to the level of the neck.

Corallus caninus5252794466_c85c5e40ef_b
DIET IN THE WILD: They perceive prey primarily through sight and infrared heat receptors located in the labial scales. Carnivore Nocturnal predators of rodents, lizards, marsupials and an occasional bird.
Nocturnally they remain coiled on its branch, but will extend its neck pointing beneath it, curled as if about to strike. It will then hold still in this position, waiting for prey to approach directly underneath it. Their highly developed front teeth that are proportionately larger than those of other non-venomous snakes.

 

Corallus caninus5099438187_af0d2a4e3b_b

REPRODUCTION; Viviparous with a gestation period of 6 to 7 months. They typically give birth 10 young at a time and by 4 months, they begin to develop their adult, green coloration.

LIFE EXPECTANCY: 15 years in captivity.

PREDATORS; Guianan crested eagles (Morphnus guianansis)

CONSERVATION: CITES; no special status.

Corallus caninus4770065279_923bce3efd_b

REMARKS: They are slow-moving but when collected in the wild have been described as making no effort to escape until seized, whereupon they strike viciously and apply constriction at full force.

References:

Animal diversity Web animaldiversity.org/accounts/Corallus_caninus/

Encyclopedia of life eol.org/pages/454883/details

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1×3

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/18399138824/in/album-72157652559028013/

TAXONOMY

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Boidae (Boas; non-venomous, constricting snakes)

Genus/species: Sanzinia madagascariensis

 

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Endemic throughout the island of Madagascar, excluding the very southwest corner. Occurs in 2 color variations; those in the eastern part of the range are green to grayish-green, while in some parts of the western range they are yellow, orange, and brown. The green variety is somewhat smaller than the western form. Max length: about 2 m or 6 ft. Females are larger than males.

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Endemic throughout the island of Madagascar, excluding the very southwest corner. Live in a variety of forest habitats, ranging from lowland tropical forests, to humid upland forests, to dry forests.

DIET IN THE WILD: It is a nocturnal snake, feeding on small mammals (including bats!) and birds, seeking them out using the heat-sensitive pits around its mouth that enable it to hunt for warm-blooded prey in complete darkness. Prey are constricted by the powerful coils of the boa which tighten as the prey struggles, restricting the blood flow to the heart and ultimately causing circulatory failure. Not venomous.

REPRODUCTION: Like all boas, females give birth to live young.Reach maturity at 3 years old, giving usually gives birth to fewer than 12  living young, which are red-colored to deter predators.

 
CONSERVATION:  IUCN Red List; Least Concern (LC)   Appendix I of CITES. Habitat loss through deforestation for agriculture and human settlement has restricted these boas mostly to protected areas of Madagascar. 

LOCATION: Rainforest  Madagascar MA06

References

Encyclopedia of Life  eol.org/pages/795591/details

ARKive http://www.arkive.org/madagascar-tree-boa/sanzinia-madagascariensis/

California Academy of Sciences Docent Training Manual on Rainforests 2014

Ron’s flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157625194985646/

Ron’s WordPress shortlink   http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-zd

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Colubridae (Colubrids)

Genus/species: Langaha madagascariensis

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Displays striking sexual dimorphism: male has a pointed snout and body with contrasting coloration; female has leaf-shaped snout and is uniformly dark brown. 

                    female belowLangaha madagascariensis8599840662_312f136ba9_k

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Endemic to Madagascar. Found at low elevations in much of the island. It is arboreal, living on and in vines. 

                    female belowLangaha madagascariensis3268009379_b359b1da8b_o

DIET IN THE WILD: Lizards Primarily ambush predators, rather than active foragers although it has been observed chasing skinks on the ground. Usually vertical ‘hanging’ behavior as adults, mimicking the seed pods of Malagasy plants (and perhaps deter predation, though by what predator is unclear).

                     male belowLangaha madagascariensis2981271735_2d1bf7df0f_b-2

REPRODUCTION: Egg laying.

CONSERVATION: ICUN Red list Least Concern (LC) 

Wide distribution and presumed large overall population, make it unlikely to decline fast enough to qualify for a more threatened category.

REMARKS: Venomous; bites can produce severe local pain and swelling that may last for several days. Colubrids tend to chew when they bite, further envenomating and infecting the site. 

Madagascar Rainforest MA03

References 

California Academy of Sciences Rainforest Docent Training Manual 2014

Encyclopedia of Life  eol.org/pages/794161/details

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/8599840662/in/set-72157620708610230/

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1rx

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata (scaled reptiles)
Family: Colubridae (Colubrids)

Genus/species: Chrysopelea paradisi 

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GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS  Long slender black body is covered from head to tail with a yellow spotting pattern that may form a somewhat stripped pattern with red or orange splotches starting at the base of the head and extends down to the tail. The head of the snake is distinguished by the 5 yellow, or sometimes orange, bars that span its width. Length: to 3 feet. 

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT  Southern Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines. Habitat: Arboreal. Lives in a fairly diverse habitat, ranging from tropical evergreen rainforests with relatively sparse undergrowth to deciduous forests with undergrowth of shrubs and grasses.

DIET IN THE WILD  Carnivorous and, like all snakes, swallows its food whole. Prefers lizard species but will eat frogs, bats, small birds and small rodents. They are mildly venomous with rear fangs and also can constrict its prey, which consists of mostly lizards and bats.

PREDATORS: Preyed upon by predatory birds and large mammals.

REPRODUCTION: Oviparous, with internal fertilization, the female lays clutches of 5 to 11 eggs. Offspring are brightly colored like adults.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List; Least Concern

The species is fairly common throughout its range.

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REMARKS  The genus Chrysopelea usually posses the ability to “fly.” They slither out to the end of a branch, and dangle in a “J” shape. Using the lower half of their body they form into an S. They then stretch out their ribs, flattening their bodies to double the original width. The belly region of the snake becomes concave, a shape that acts as a parachute as the snake glides on air drafts from a higher branch to a lower one. They can undulate their bodies to change directions and can glide up to 300 feet.

Borneo Rainforest BO13

References

Encyclopedia of Life: http://eol.org/pages/795382/details

California Academy docent rainforest training class 2014

WordPress Shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-UM

flickr  http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608449603666/

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