The Inland Taipan – The most venomous snake

The inland taipan, also known as the fierce snake produces some of the world’s most poisonous snake venom. This snake may grow as long as two and a half meters and its skin on the upper half varies from dark brown to a light yellow color. This snake’s skin changes seasonally matching the dark winter and light summer colors. This species can be found in Australia and the dramatic changes in skin color are due to the harsh weather down under. Although this snake possesses of arguably the most poisonous venom in the snake kingdom there has never been a recorded human fatality due to its bite. The injury can easily be treated by an antivenin developed in Australia. The inland taipan can mainly be found in black soil spots in the region of Queensland, South Australia and Northern Territory’s borders merge. The snakes hide from predators and the heat in the cracks of the dry ground. The inland taipan’s diet mainly consists of small mammals, particularly native rats which from time to time plague this region. This venomous snake strikes its prey a few times. The inland taipan’s population mainly depends on the availability of good enough prey. This snake lies between a dozen and twenty eggs per clutch – usually in an abandoned burrow or crevice.

Snake venom might kill cancer

New, preliminary research recently showed that snake venom my possibly be the key to preventing cancer. Just like medicine, snake venom is used by these animals to change biological functions. Allegedly almost twelve diagnostic tests and drugs are based on snake venom. A drug for treating high blood pressure was for example developed from a Brazilian snake’s venom. There are about 3000 species of snakes known to man and 650 of these are venomous. Australia is playing host to ten of these and many scientists do their research there.

As expected from a possible cancer cure snake venom is extremely composite – intricate mixing of different peptides, enzymes and toxins. The venom of every species of snake is different and there can also be found small discrepancy within a species itself. The age and geographic region of the snake plays a factor in the profile of the venom.

Simply explained a tumor can only exist and grow with blood supply to all its various cells. A compound in snake venom which breaks apart cells and therefore cutting off their blood supply was recently found and it is suspected that this compound may have the same effect on the tissue of a tumor. This type of treatment would distinguish itself from other types because it only acts on certain types of cells whereas chemotherapy and radiation do not differentiate between body cells. It is believed that tumor cells are slightly different than normal body cells. This compound in snake venom would then potentially leave healthy cells alone. Although this research is being based on preliminary results the future looks a little bit brighter for cancer patients worldwide thanks to snake venom.

The Snake’s Habitat

It does not matter which type of snake you acquire – the first thing you need is a secure, escape-proof cage or enclosure. You should choose a terrarium that has enough room for the snake to stretch out and move around. It should also have shelves and ledges. Stay away from wire-line walls and go for optimal glass or Plexiglas terrariums. Also look out for one with a secure, wire mesh lid and has a lot of room for basking as well as rocks and a hiding box. You should install a full-spectrum fluorescent lamp. Make sure the snake has access to constant heat, by installing a heat lamp or under-tank heater. Temperatures vary between 80-85 during the day and 70-75 at night. Make sure your snake’s environment is safe and that the terrarium is easy to clean. Remember to always clean the water container thoroughly. The container should be large and flat. Only use unprinted newspapers or butcher paper to cover the bottom of the cage and stay away from kitty litter or gravel. Try to provide your snake with some privacy but make sure the lid of the terrarium is always closed and enforced with a heavy book or brick. Snakes are known for their amazing escaping routines.

The Largest Venomous Snake – the King Cobra

The King Cobra is commonly known to be the world’s largest venomous snake and lengths as long as five and a half meters have been recorded. An average length for this snake is about four meters long. This solitary animal can be found in tropical areas around the world, including India, China and south-east Asia. This snake can travel to about anywhere with its ability to slither on water, land as well as to climb trees. Another interesting fact is that the King Cobra never can reach ages up to twenty years old. This snake has hollow fangs of up to 1.25 centimeters long through which venom is forced when the cobra bites. Adult king Cobras’ colors vary from yellow, green, black to brown. The throat is cream-colored and light. Younger King Cobras are black with yellow and white stripes on the body. This snake smells with its forked tongue and even though its deaf hears via vibrations. Unique to this snake is its hood. When the King Cobra is threatened or attacked it hisses and flatten his neck and ribs into a hood with false eyespots to scare off predators. This snake mostly eat cold-blooded animals (like snakes) and alike any snake swallows its prey whole. After eating a large animal the King Cobra could survive for several months without food. This snake lays about twenty to fifty eggs in a leafy nest in the springtime and incubates the eggs for sixty to seventy days. A nesting snake of this species is extremely dangerous.

Snake care

As with any pet a snake has basic needs which have to be fulfilled. These include proper food and water, a secure shelter, medical attention when needed and just the right temperature. A snake has no mechanism in its body to regulate body temperature and therefore relies on external factors entirely. The desired temperature varies from species to species but it is important for the snake to have a choice between temperatures. Installing an infrared basking lamp is a good idea and provides levels for it to climb and basking upon. Try not to localize heat to one spot. If your snake loses its appetite and become sluggish it could be a sign that the temperature is too low. If it puts its head into the drinking water it’s safe to assume that the temperature is too high. Use thermometers to keep track of temperatures.

A common health problem with snakes is parasites. Quarantine your new snake and make sure at the vet’s that it is safe before you put it with your other snakes. When you suspect an ill snake, immediately take it to the vet. Common signs of illness include weight loss, runny stools, a refusal to eat or staring constantly upwards. If you spot a tick, it can be easily treated. Most snakes one is able to keep as pet eat mice or rodents. You should always try to use pre-killed and frozen mice. Live prey may carry a disease or injure your snake. You should always put out fresh, room temperature water and make sure the snake cannot tip the bowl. Disinfect the bowl thoroughly and because snakes like to bathe in the water, try to use a large, flat bowl. Try to find out as much as possible about your species of snake on the internet and in books.

The Mozambique Spitting Cobra – a dangerous snake

Many believe this snake to be one of the most dangerous snakes in Africa, coming in second to the mamba. When threatened the Mozambique spitting cobra can stand on a third of its body and spit deadly venom with great accuracy. This snake’s venom is ejected from two small holes near the tip of its teeth. It usually aims for its predator’s eyes. The venom instantly causes intense inflammation. If not attended to with milk, it could cause permanent blindness.

This snake, also known as M’Fezi, has a skin color varying from olive-grey, to brown to grey with the scales in between blackish in color. The belly is normally yellow of color. It grows up to 1.5 meters and the female produce between 10 to 22 eggs per hatch.

The M’Fanzi can be found in Southern Africa in regions like Natal, Low-veld, south-eastern Tanzania and Pemba Island. It is a nervous snake and when threatened it can spit its venom across a distance of two to three meters. Despite its aggressive nature, this snake does not normally bite and has the habit of feigning death in front of its predator. Its bite may heavily destruct its prey’s tissue.

How to Avoid Snake Bites

There are a few precautions one can take to avoid snakes when exploring. Avoid reaching into dark places or hollow areas before establishing the absence of a snake. It is also wise to wear decent hiking shoes – avoid walking barefoot. When sleeping in the wild try not to place your sleeping gear next to brush, tall grass or large boulders and trees. Set up your camping site in a flat, cleared area. When happening upon a snake you should not try to handle it. There are no clear distinguishing factors between venomous and non-venomous snakes and only after death it can be determined without being exposed to possibly serious danger. This should however but discourage you to explore and learn about nature. There are snakes known to quickly and aggressively attack, but if you practice caution and avoid stepping on a snake or walking too close to one you’ll be able to enjoy

Biggest Snake – Anaconda

It is commonly known that the anaconda is the largest snake in the world. The largest one ever measured was almost 28 feet long and had a girth of 44 inches. Scientists estimate this female snake must have weighed over 500 pounds. The anaconda is often contested by the Asiatic Reticulated Python which holds the record for the world’s longest snake at 33 feet.

Wild anacondas mostly reside in South-American jungle-rivers hunting for food. The anaconda is a solitary animal and is not easily spotted. Urban legends often speak of anacondas measuring up to a hundred feet but never has one of this size ever been measured. The anaconda’s hide, when drying out expands much longer than the body of the snake which inhabited it so misjudgments could easily be made. A swimming anaconda’s length is hard to estimate so only caught ones’ measurements can be verified.

Although an anaconda has the ability to swallow a capybara or tapir whole fossils of a much larger, pre-historic snake has been found in a mine in Columbia. Paleontologists estimate the snake to have been about 43 feet long and weighing 2500 pounds. This snake was big enough to prey on crocodiles’. In prehistoric times the Amazon had to be up to eight degrees warmer to accommodate a snake of that size.

As members of the boa constrictor-family the anaconda kills its prey by coiling its body around the victim and squeezing until the prey suffocates or is crushed to death. Like all snakes the anaconda swallows its prey whole. They have been known to prey on caimans, other snakes, deer and even jaguars. Although the anaconda has teeth it’s not used for chewing and this snake species is also not venomous.

The Puff Adder – Africa’s deadliest snake

The puff adder is considered to be Africa’s most dangerous snake and is known for its bad temperament. Its habitat is extensive, it has large fangs and lethal venom – and it’s not afraid to kill. This snake causes more fatalities in Africa than any other. It mostly lives in southern Africa and opts for rocky, grassy living surroundings. The puff adder is a nocturnal snake and mostly hunts at night. They feed on rodents, amphibians, lizards and many small mammals.

The average puff adder is about a meter in length and can weigh up to six kilograms. Males may be longer than females and the color of their skin depends on the geography it lives in. All puff adders have dark circles around the eyes.

This snake does not move fast and mainly uses camouflage to hide from its prey. Puff adders move in a slithering fashion and although they travel slowly they can be very quick to attack. When disturbed the puff adder acts quickly. It hisses loudly and forms a tight coil, holding their heads in an S-shaped fashion. This way the snake can strike side-ways or straight at a very quick speed. The generally have long fans. They are also known to be good climbers and swimmers.

Puff adders give birth to (on average fifty to sixty) live snakes which may range from twelve to seventeen centimeters in length.

A grown puff adder’s venom is extremely toxic and may cause severe pain, tenderness and hemorrhages. A bite from this snake may cause shock, nausea, hypotension and dizziness to name but a few. Death can be prevented and fatalities are mostly due to neglected treatment of this deadly snake’s bite.

Indian Kraits

The Krait snake-family has a lot of different members like for example the common Indian krait or the branded krait. These snakes are a harmful variety and one must approach with extreme caution. The common Indian krait has enlarged hexagonal scales and on its back are white crossbars mostly appearing in pairs. The neck of this snake is not evident and its pupils are black. Its skin is a blue-black color. The white bars change according to age. The common Indian krait mainly chooses to inhabit fields, low scrub jungles and are even present in the vicinity of humans. It is common to find this krait living in houses and is usually found in or near water. Being a nocturnal animal this krait is mainly active and visible during night-time. Not a nervous snake it only attacks when provoked. This snake mainly chooses other snakes as prey, but also feed on frogs, lizards and small mammals. The male is longer in length than the female.

Making the krait such a dangerous snake is the fact that its bite is lethal to man. The venom, clear and amber colored, is more toxic than that of the cobra and paralyzes the respiratory center of the human body. The main cause of death from this snake’s bite is asphyxia. Symptoms of the bite includes initial sever pain on the bite and later heavy abdominal pain. The eyelids and lower lip droop and eventually the victim are not able to move or even breathe. If bitten demand medical assistance immediately and the victim should be kept warm and be served war, stimulating drinks. Death occurs within five to twelve hours after being bitten.

The banded krait gets its name from its appearance. It’s a smooth, glossy snake and has bright yellow and black bands all along its body. This krait’s venom is less lethal than that of the cobra. This snake mainly inhabits grassy fields and open tracks and likes to reside near water. They can often be spotted in the rainy season. The banded krait feeds on other snakes. If the portion caught is longer than the krait a part of the prey will hang from its mouth until the first part is digested. There is no record of any bites by this snake even though it is poisonous.