Snake Population On The Decline On Three Continents

Distinct populations of snake species on three continents have crashed over the last decade, raising fears that the reptiles may be in global decline, according to a study published recently.The pattern across the eight species monitored was alarmingly similar despite their geographical isolation, which points to a common cause such as climate change, the researchers said.

Other factors known to play a role include habitat loss, pollution, disease, lack of prey and over-exploitation, either for food or trade.The study showed that 11 of 17 snake populations in Britain, France, Italy, Nigeria and Australia dropped off sharply over a four-year period starting in the late 1990s.“Our data revealed an alarming trend,” the authors reported in the British Royal Society journal Biology Letters.
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A Caterpillar That Pretends To Be A Fearsome Snake

At first glance it may look like a fearsome snake but this rearing creature is actually a small caterpillar with a cunning means of defence. The Spicebush Swallowtail has evolved a large pair of false eyespots and bold yellow and blue markings to frighten off potential predators. The brightly coloured insect, which is only a few inches long, was snapped by wildlife biologist Jonathan Mays in Maine, U.S.He was photographing the striking caterpillars and the large black and orange butterflies they turn into in a red maple forest.

Mr Mays, said: ‘Swallowtail caterpillars are beautiful creatures. They strike a sense of wonder from many observers.‘Swallowtails have spots on their head that mimic snake eyes and are amazing to view.‘The disguise is very lifelike, so much so that even the reflection or eye-shine changes when viewed from different angles.‘The habitat was a spicebush stand amidst a red maple forest. I was at this site looking specifically for the caterpillars.’

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Cole Haan Putting Kibosh On Exotic Skins

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Nike subsidiary Cole Haan has agreed to eliminate exotic skins like lizard, snake and alligator from its product lines.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said Thursday that Cole Haan is the first maker of high-end accessories and shoes to ban exotic skins. Cole Haan, which is based in New York and Yarmouth, Maine, defines exotic as including alligator, crocodile, lizard, snake and ostrich.

Nike spokesman Nate Tobecksen says products using those materials will be eliminated across the entire Nike line after the summer retail season.PETA has successfully lobbied Nike and Cole Haan in the past. Cole Haan announced in 2008 that it would stop using fur in its product lines.

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Snake Massage !!!

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Ever since that run-in with Adam and Eve, snakes have gotten a bad rap in the Holy Land.But at Ada Barak’s spa in northern Israel, slithering reptiles don’t give people the creeps. They give deep-tissue massages.

Barak figured out several years ago that heavy king and corn snakes produce a relaxing kneading sensation. For years, she’s been entertaining guests at her farm where she cultivates rodent-eating carnivorous plants. Strangely, she found a sideline that’s even more bizarre.

“People either like it a lot or they hate it,” she tells Time magazine.

For $80, a tangle of creepy-crawlies can wriggle their way up your spine and across your face, and you can decide.

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Snake In A Bind After Eating Its Own Tail

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A pet snake got itself in a bit of a bind after it mistook its own tail for a tasty dinner.Reggie the King snake soon realised his mistake after chomping down on his back end but then couldn’t release himself after his teeth had taken hold.

Luckily the hungry reptile’s owner arrived on the scene before the snake began to digest its own body, and rushed him to the vet.

‘Its backward facing teeth were acting like a ratchet,’ vet Bob Reynolds from Faygate, West Sussex told the Mail Online.’The snake had also dislocated its jaw in its attempt to get its mouth around the tail and this isn’t easy to reverse.’Mr Reynolds was able to gently untangle Reggie by prising its jaws open a little wider and sliding the teeth off the flesh using a probe. The whole operation took only half an hour.

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Snake With Foot Found In China

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Dean Qiongxiu, 66, said she discovered the reptile clinging to the wall of her bedroom with its talons in the middle of the night.

“I woke up and heard a strange scratching sound. I turned on the light and saw this monster working its way along the wall using his claw,” said Mrs Duan of Suining, southwest China. Mrs Duan said she was so scared she grabbed a shoe and beat the snake to death before preserving its body in a bottle of alcohol.

The snake – 16 inches long and the thickness of a little finger – is now being studied at the Life Sciences Department at China’s West Normal University in Nanchang.Snake expert Long Shuai said: “It is truly shocking but we won’t know the cause until we’ve conducted an autopsy.”

A more common mutation among snakes is the growth of a second head, which occurs in a similar way to the formation of Siamese twins in humans.Such animals are often caught and preserved as lucky tokens but have very little chance of surviving in the wild anyway, especially as the heads have a tendency to attack each other.

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