World Snake Day 2017 - Some sssssssuper specifics about the slithering serpents

World Snake Day 2017 -  Some sssssssuper specifics about the slithering serpents

Posted by Phoebe Codling on Jul 14, 2017

July 16th marks World Snake Day, yay! Now, I know what you’re thinking – why are we celebrating snakes? They’re super scary right? WRONG! Once again, it’s a typical case of ‘they’re more scared of you, than you are of them’. Snakes are incredible creatures, and our world is groaning with at least 3000 different species that are slithering their way around our planet. Here at The Great Projects, we’re well aware that many people are afraid of snakes, and the mere mention of them can send a chill running down your spine. I personally start thinking about Nagini in Harry Potter, and then my mind tends to wander… oops! But unsurprisingly, snakes are one of the most feared creatures in the animal kingdom, with an estimated third of all humans suffering from Ophidiophobia (an irrational/intense fear of snakes). Research has suggested that the fear of snakes can be deep-rooted in our psyche, and that the phobia is actually evolutionary. BUT, regardless of that, we want to give you a reason to embrace these beautiful creatures, and learn all about their wild and wonderful ways! So buckle up, and let’s take you for a ride around Snake Kingdom.

World Snake Day 2017

First up, whilst there are well over 3000 species of snakes slithering around, only a small proportion of them are actually harmful. 375 species are classified as venomous, with the majority of these snakes residing in Australia and Asia. The award for the world’s most toxic snake goes to the Inland Taipan, native to Australia; the amount of venom from one bite is enough to easily kill 100 adult men, or 250 thousand mice! Luckily that’s never happened, as in the very rare cases of a bite occurring, anti-venom has done its job and saved these lucky people! So, if you ever come across a snake on your travels, there are a few sound ways to detect if it’s poisonous. A diamond shaped pupil often indicates a venomous snake, as does its colour. Just remember the nursery rhyme;

‘If red touches yellow, it will kill a fellow. If red touches black, it's a friend of Jack.’

This rhyme isn’t always correct though, as you can imagine it would be pretty difficult for it to be spot on every single time due to the sheer number of snakes slithering around. This rhyme in particular refers to coral snakes and scarlet king snakes, but it’s always handy to have in the back of your mind right?! In general, snakes are found all over the world EXCEPT in Antarctica, Iceland, Ireland, Greenland and New Zealand. Legend has it that in the fifth century, St. Patrick banished snakes from Ireland using his staff, luring them into the sea never to return… though in truth it was actually due to the Ice Age and the fact that the land bridge between Britain and Ireland drowned before snakes had the chance to settle on the Emerald Isle. Britain and the European mainland were connected by land for another 2000 years after that, which is why Britain has snakes (albeit only three species) and Ireland doesn’t.

World Snake Day 2017

Now, due to the sheer amount of different species and their geographical diversity, you can imagine that snakes themselves can be pretty varied. Snakes can vary in length from 4 inches (the Barbados thread snake), to a whopping 30ft long python! Imagine coming across one of those on a hike! If you think 30ft long is crazy, the Green Anaconda can weigh approximately SIX HUNDRED pounds!! An adult reindeer only weighs around 395 pounds, so you can see the green anaconda isn’t one to be messed with…

Anaconda World Snake Day 2017

Snakes are often remembered for their crazy eating habits, we’ve all heard the stories of one snake starving itself so it could eat its owner haven’t we? Although that is pretty much guaranteed to be a myth just so you know! Generally speaking, snakes much prefer dinner of the mouse, bird and frog variety. Snakes can actually eat animals up to three times larger than themselves (?!) due to their ability to separate their upper and lower jaw, and some snakes have even been discovered eating crocodiles and cows! I don’t know about you but I find that pretty difficult to comprehend! Once snakes have digested their prey, they don’t need to feed again for a while due to their slow metabolism. Pythons and anacondas in particular can last an entire year without eating! Kudos to those snakes, I can barely last an hour.

World Snake Day 2017

NOW, HERE COMES THE SERIOUS STUFF…

Now, as we come to the end of this post, I’m sure that you’ll agree snakes are capable of some seriously incredible things. These serpents are so fascinating, and due to the sheer amount of varieties around the world, the facts about them are endless! But on a serious note, these fab creatures are becoming more at risk every single day. Conservation and volunteer efforts are low due to both ignorance and fear of the wonderful creatures, and the fact it is quite difficult to monitor numbers in the wild. Snakes are actually very important ecologically, and crucial for pest control in rice paddies and sugar cane plantations – and with near constant habitat destruction in the past twenty years, in combination with poaching for their skin, and snakes becoming desirable pets, this means that levels are now declining. So, what can we do? As always, educate yourself and others around you! Spreading knowledge and information is invaluable, and by doing so, you can definitely give yourself a pat on the back! If you feel like getting involved, sign some petitions, donate and even volunteer where you can! Just remember though, that every little helps!


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