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|This unusual snake has eyes like a Cat's!|
I can't find any info on this snake so here's some on snakes in general...
A snake is one of 2,900 species of scaled, limbless, elongate reptile lacking external ears from the order Squamata. Snakes are found on every continent except Antarctica and range in size from the diminutive thread snake to pythons and anacondas reaching more than 10 meters in length. To fit snakes' narrow bodies, paired organs (such as kidneys) appear one in front of the other instead of side by side. A snake has only one lung functional for breathing. All snakes are strict carnivores.
Snakes evolved during the Cretaceous period (c 150 Ma). Like certain lizards, such as the gila monster, snakes may have evolved from a venomous lizard which adapted to burrowing. The diversity of modern snakes appeared during the Paleocene period (c 66 to 56 Ma).
A literary word for snake is serpent (a Middle English word which comes from Old French, and ultimately from *serp-, "to creep"); in modern usage this usually refers to a mythic or symbolic snake as well as the Suborder it belongs to: Serpentes.
All snakes are strictly carnivorous, eating small animals including lizards, other snakes, small mammals, birds, eggs, fish, snails or insects.
Some snakes have a venomous bite, which they use to kill their prey before eating it. Other snakes kill their prey by constriction. Still others swallow their prey whole and alive. Pareas iwesakii and other snail-eating Colubrids of subfamily Pareatinae have more teeth on the right side of their mouths than on the left, as the shells of their prey usually spiral clockwise.
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 (see snake 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. It is a common misconception that snakes actually dislocate their lower jaw to consume large prey.
After eating, snakes become torpid while the process of digestion takes place. Digestion is an intense activity, especially after the consumption of very large prey. In species that feed only sporadically, the entire intestine enters a reduced state between meals to conserve energy, and the digestive system is 'up-regulated' to full capacity within 48 hours of prey consumption. Being ectothermic or cold blooded, the surrounding temperature plays a large role in a snakes digestion. 30 degrees celsius is the ideal temperature for snakes to digest their food. So much metabolic energy is involved in digestion that in Crotalus durissus, the Mexican rattlesnake, an increase of body temperature to as much as 14 degrees Celsius above the surrounding environment has been observed. Because of this, a snake disturbed after having eaten recently will often regurgitate its prey in order to be able to escape the perceived threat. However, when undisturbed, the digestive process is highly efficient, dissolving and absorbing everything but hair and claws, which are excreted along with uric acid waste. Snakes have been known to die from trying to swallow an animal that is too big.
The skin of a snake is covered in scales. Contrary to the popular notion of snakes being slimy because of possible confusion of snakes with worms, snakeskin has a smooth, dry texture. Most snakes use specialized belly scales to travel, gripping surfaces. The body scales may be smooth, keeled, or granular. Snake's eyelids are transparent "spectacle" scales which remain permanently closed, also known as brille.
The shedding of scales is called ecdysis, or, in normal usage moulting or sloughing. In the case of snakes, the complete outer layer of skin is shed in one layer. Snake scales are not discrete but extensions of the epidermis hence they are not shed separately, but are ejected as a complete contiguous outer layer of skin during each moult, akin to a sock being turned inside out.
Moulting serves a number of functions - firstly, the old and worn skin is replaced, secondly, it helps get rid of parasites such as mites and ticks. Renewal of the skin by moulting is supposed to allow growth in some animals such as insects, however this view has been disputed in the case of snakes.
Moulting is repeated periodically throughout a snake's life. Before a moult, the snake stops eating and often hides or moves to a safe place. Just prior to shedding, the skin becomes dull and dry looking and the eyes become cloudy or blue-colored. The inner surface of the old outer skin liquefies. This causes the old outer skin to separate from the new inner skin. After a few days, the eyes clear and the snake "crawls" out of its old skin. The old skin breaks near the mouth and the snake wriggles out aided by rubbing against rough surfaces. In many cases the cast skin peels backward over the body from head to tail, in one piece like an old sock. A new, larger, and brighter layer of skin has formed underneath.
An older snake may shed its skin only once or twice a year, but a younger, still-growing snake, may shed up to four times a year. The discarded skin gives a perfect imprint of the scale pattern and it is usually possible to identify the snake if this discard is reasonably complete and intact. Although the primary purpose of shedding is for the snake's growth; it also removes external parasites. This periodic renewal has led to the snake being a symbol of healing and medicine, as pictured in the Rod of Asclepius.
The shape and number of scales on the head, back and belly are characteristic to family, genus and species. Scales have a nomenclature analogous to the position on the body. In "advanced" (Caenophidian) snakes, the broad belly scales and rows of dorsal scales correspond to the vertebrae, allowing scientists to count the vertebrae without dissection.
Scalation counts are also used to tell the sex of a snake when the species is not readily sexually dimorphic. A probe is inserted into the cloaca until it can go no further. The probe is marked at the point where it stops, removed, and compared to the subcaudal depth by laying it alongside the scales. The scalation count determines whether the snake is a male or female as hemipenes of a male will probe to a different depth (usually shorter) than the cloaca of a female.[
While snake vision is unremarkable (generally being best in arboreal species and worst in burrowing species), it is able to detect movement. Some snakes, like the Asian vine snake (genus Ahaetulla), have binocular vision. In most snakes, the lens moves back and forth within the eyeball to focus. In addition to their eyes, some snakes (pit vipers, pythons, and some boas) have infrared-sensitive receptors in deep grooves between the nostril and eye, although some have labial pits on their upper lip just below the nostrils(common in pythons) which allow them to "see" the radiated heat.
A snake smells by using its forked tongue to collect airborne particles then passing them to the Jacobson's organ or the Vomeronasal organ in the mouth for examination. The fork in the tongue gives the snake a sort of directional sense of smell. The part of the body which is in direct contact with the surface of the ground is very sensitive to vibration, thus a snake is able to sense other animals approaching.
A venomous snake is a snake that uses modified saliva, venom, delivered through fangs in its mouth, to immobilize or kill its prey. Snake venoms are often prey specific, its role in self-defense is secondary. Venom, like all salivary secretions, is a pre-digestant which initiates the breakdown of food into soluble compounds allowing for proper digestion and even "non-venomous" snake bites (like any animal bite) will cause tissue damage.
Certain birds, mammals, and other snakes such as kingsnakes that prey on venomous snakes have developed resistance and even immunity to certain venom. Venomous snakes include three families of snakes and do not constitute a formal classification group used in taxonomy. The term poisonous snake is mostly incorrect - poison is inhaled or ingested whereas venom is injected. There are, however, two examples - Rhabdophis sequesters toxins from the toads it eats then secretes them from nuchal glands to ward off predators, and a small population of garter snakes in Oregon retains enough toxin in their liver from the newts they eat to be effectively poisonous to local small predators such as crows and foxes.
Snake venoms are complex mixtures of proteins and are stored in poison glands at the back of the head. In all venomous snakes these glands open through ducts into grooved or hollow teeth in the upper jaw. These proteins can potentially be a mix of neurotoxins (which attack the nervous system), hemotoxins (which attack the circulatory system), cytotoxins, bungarotoxins and many other toxins that affect the body in different ways. Almost all snake venom contains hyaluronidase, an enzyme that ensures rapid diffusion of the venom.
Venomous snakes that use hemotoxins usually have the fangs that secrete the venom in the front of their mouths, making it easier for them to inject the venom into their victims. Some snakes that use neurotoxins, such as the mangrove snake, have their fangs located in the back of their mouths, with the fangs curled backwards. This makes it both difficult for the snake to use its venom and for scientists to milk them. Elapid snakes, however, such as cobras and kraits are proteroglyphous, possessing hollow fangs which cannot be erected toward the front of their mouths and cannot "stab" like a viper, they must actually bite the victim.
It has recently been suggested that all snakes may be venomous to a certain degree (see Toxicofera for more information). Snakes may have evolved from a common lizard ancestor that was venomous, from which venomous lizards like the gila monster and beaded lizard may have also derived. This hypothesis suggests that all snakes have venom glands, even species thought totally harmless such as the Corn Snake, commonly kept as a pet. What differentiates 'venomous' from 'non-venomous' is the evolution of a venom delivery system, the most advanced being that of vipers, with fangs that are hinged to prevent self envenomation, curling out only when the snake strikes.
Venomous snakes are classified in twotaxonomic families:
Elapids - cobras including king cobras, kraits, mambas, Australian copperheads, sea snakes, and coral snakes.
Viperids - vipers, rattlesnakes, copperheads/cottonmouths, adders and bushmasters.
There is a third family containing the opistoglyphous (rear-fanged)snakes as well as the majority of other snake species:
Colubrids - boomslangs, tree snakes, vine snakes, mangrove snakes, although not all colubrids are venomous.
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