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Snakes: The Limbless Reptiles

Year 2013 Culminating Project

Erna G. Schweikert

on 8 February 2014

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Transcript of Snakes: The Limbless Reptiles

Northern Copperhead By Erna G. Schweikert Snake Facts Nonvenomous Snakes of Maryland Venomous
Snakes of
Maryland I Love Snakes There are 25 different species of nonvenomous snakes in Maryland Maryland Snakes They are so pretty They are so interesting Timber Rattlesnake There are only 2 different species of venomous snakes in Maryland Northern Water Snake Red-bellied Water Snake Queen Snake Eastern Smooth Earth Snake Mountain Earth Snake Northern Brown Snake Northern Red-bellied Snake Eastern Garter Snake Eastern Ribbon Snake Northern Ring-neck Snake Southern Ring-neck Snake Eastern Worm Snake Smooth Green Snake Northern Rough Green Snake Eastern Hog-nosed Snake Rainbow Snake Northern Black Racer Northern Pine Snake Red Corn Snake Eastern Rat Snake,or
Black Rat Snake Mole King Snake Eastern King Snake Eastern Milk Snake Coastal Plain Milksnake Northern Scarletsnake Agkistrodon contortrix mokasen Crotalus horridus Nerodia sipedon sipedon Nerodia erythrogaster erythrogaster Regina septemvittata Virginia valeriae valeriae Virginia valeriae pulchra Storeria dekayi dekayi Storeria occipitomaculata occipitomaculata Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis Thamnophis sauritus sauritus Diadophis punctatus edwardsii Diadophis punctatus punctatus Carphophis amoenus amoenus Opheodrys vernalisHeterodon platirhinos Opheodrys aestivus aestivus Heterodon platirhinos Farancia erytrogramma erytrogramma Coluber constrictor constrictor Pituophis melanoleucus melanoleucus Pantherophis guttatus Pantherophis alleghaniensis Lampropeltis calligaster rhombomaculata Lampropeltis getula getula Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum Lampropeltis triangulum elapsoides X triangulum Cemophora coccinea copei All Snakes are cold-blooded Endangerment Young Myths/Stories History of Snakes Snake Anatomy Venom Shedding Scales Tongue Tempature Moving A snakes forked tongue picks up chemical molecules on the ground and in the air. The snake's tongue then touches the roof of the mouth. At the roof of the snakes mouth is the Jacobson’s organ, this organ then processes the chemical odors and sends this information to the snake’s brain.The split at the end of snake’s tongues also helps the snake to know to go left or right. Bones and Teeth Finger nails are made of a material named keratin. Keratin is also the same material as a snakes scales. Snakes stretchy skin in between the scales, this helps the snake be very flexible while slithering around. Scutes are the wide scales on the belly and bottom of a snake. Scutes push against the small bumps in the ground to help the snake move. Scutes can’t grip sand, so desert snakes have to throw themselves toward their destination. Scutes The thin see-through scales covering the eyes are called brilles. Brilles Snakes are ecothermic, this means “outside heat.” Which makes sense because, snakes are cold-blooded, which means their body is the same temperature as the surrounding air. To not be burning up or freezing cold, snakes try to keep their body temperature at about 86 degrees Fahrenheit. All snakes have at least 100 vertebrae. Some snakes have over 1000 bones in their bodies. Snakes have ears deep inside their heads. Sounds travel through a snake’s bones to its ears. Snakes have about 400 small bones called vertebrae, this is their flexible spine. Snakes are flexible enough that they can tie themselves into a knot. Most snakes have over 200 teeth. Snakes can easily grow back their teeth. Pythons and some other snakes have 2 rows of upper teeth. Also, some vipers sense heat by the two holes on the front of their heads. Most snakes move in a straight line, but some move their bodies by bunching, others by throwing and looping their bodies forward. To swim in the water, water snakes wiggle side to side like a fish. Snakes are extraordinary animals. They have no ears, legs, feet, or eyelids. But, they have amazing features. Such as, their ability of using their tongues to smell and figure out their surroundings. Their scales, scutes, and brilles; help them move around and have a little protection. They always match the temperature of their surroundings, with their cold-blooded veins. And, their bones make them as flexible as a piece of rope. Venom Within A snake’s poison is stored in sacs, that are nearby the fangs. When the snake bites the prey, the poison surges through the fangs into the prey. The snake's venom instantly starts to destroy cells when it enters a body. Where the Most Deadly Live 1/3 of all snakes on this planet are venomous, which means that there are over 250 poisonous species of snakes in the world. About 15 percent of snakes in the United States of America are venomous. The most deadly snakes live in Africa, Asia, Australia, and South America. The most poisonous is the Beaked Sea Snake. These snakes live in the shallow waters of the Indian Ocean. This snake can stay under water for up to 5 hours. Black Mambas are the fastest and most feared snake in Africa, their venom causes muscle paralysis, and this makes a victim stop breathing. The most venomous snake is the Inland Taipan Snake or Australia’s Fierce Snake. It has enough venom in one bite to kill 100 human adults. But this snake has not killed any human; they are actually very calm and shy. Sea snakes are more venomous than most land snakes. Sea snakes live in the ocean. Sea snakes thrive in the warm water of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Different snakes have different venom which causes effects on the nervous system, blood or muscles. Snakes never stop growing, so when the skin gets too tight, a snake then has to molt. When snakes are ready to molt, they will go through a phase,, where the snake's eyes with turn a milky white or blue. The snake is in this state for nearly for about a week. While in the sate, the snake will stay in hiding. After this phase,the snake's will go back to normal, and the snake is ready to shed it's skin. To shed, the snake rubs its head on something rough. After a few minutes, the skin starts to peel off. The scales that are being shed, are older scales. Before a snake sheds its skin, it grows new scales, ones that will fit better for the snake. Most snakes shed their skin 3 or 4 times in a year. Eating There are many different types of snakes in the world. Each have there own unique trick of getting their prey. Snakes don’t scavenge for food, they catch their prey, only. Most snakes eat about 30 meals each year. Size Matters Constrictors Snakes that constrict their prey kill the prey by squeezing it breathes, until it is crushed or no longer able to breathe. When a snake constricts its prey, it does not break the bones; it only squeezes enough to kill. Pythons, boas and rat snakes constrict their prey. There are over 150 species of constrictors in the world. Swallow Whole Snakes can swallow animals bigger than it; its skull bones can come apart to swallow these animals. A snake’s skin can easily stretch like elastic. A snake stretches its mouth over the animal and then pulls it with its jaws and teeth. It pulls it in by using the left side of the jaw, then the right side and so on. Sometimes, it can take hours for a snake to swallow a big meal. Some snakes eat their prey alive, other kill their prey first. Some snakes eat prey that is bigger than their own head. Such as the, Egg-Eating Snake, which lives in Africa. This snake can swallow eggs three times bigger than its own head. It is just like us, swallowing a whole pumpkin. When catching prey, the size of the snake matters. If the snakes is small, it will eat small ants, worms, spiders, and small insects. Medium snakes eat small birds, rodents and amphibians. While big snakes eat wild pigs, deer, crocodiles, large mammals and birds. If a snake is big enough, it will eat smaller snake species, or even smaller of the same species. Some snakes will eat animals close to its own size, when this happens, the snake may go for weeks, months or even years with out eating. Eggs Some snakes lay up to 20 or 30 eggs at a time. Different species of snakes lay up to 100 eggs, such as large pythons. After laying eggs, some mother snakes will stay with the eggs while others just leave. Female pythons coil around their eggs to keep them warm. To get out of their egg; the baby snake will use an “Egg Tooth” to slit the egg’s soft, leathery shell. The tooth will then come off after the baby snakes first shed. When snakes hatch, they look exactly like their parents. Some snakes can give birth to 5 to 20 snakes. Puff Adders can give birth to 150 snakes at once. In cold places, some baby snakes grow in their mother’s body. Live young are born in sacs or casings seven months after the mother snake mated. These young snake leave immediately when born and can instantly survive on their own. Garter snakes and Rattlesnakes give birth to live young. Many sea snakes give birth to live young, for they may never touch land. Live Young Snakes have lived over 12.5 million years. Snake ancestors evolved to have no limbs because it made it easier to survive. For they used to have bulky legs that invited from their sides. They were very easy prey, until they evolved. To protect themselves, they started living under ground. But their regular senses wouldn’t be able to help them very much, and they needed to be as small as possible to burrow. That is why they have different senses and no limbs. Pythons and boa constrictors have claw-like remains of their long lost legs. Africa In Africa, there is a story about animals that made a farm. The animals found out that someone stole the food so they put tar down. It was a snake and when they pulled him off, his legs stuck. Egypt In ancient Egypt, snake-like beings were worshiped. These ancient egyptians believed the snakes were symbols of new life, but they feared them because of their venom. Mexico and India The people of Ancient Mexico believed that snakes were gods. Many people of India attend a festivals that honors a snake god. Most of these festivals have snake charmers. Greeks and Romans Greek and Romans had stories and gods that involved snakes. Ancient Greeks used a symbol of a snake wrapped around a staff to stand for good health and long life. Today we use a similar symbol called a Caduceus. This symbol has 2 snakes wrapped around a staff and can be seen for medical places. Australia, China, and Native American The Aborigine people of Australia, believe that a being called the Rainbow Snake is the symbol of new life. The Chinese Zodiac has a snake as one of the many animals. People born in the year of the snake are said to be charming, wise, but also selfish. The Native American Hopi Tribe still perform snake dance to ask the gods for rain. Hibernation Some snakes hibernate in winter, but if they live in warm places, they are active all year long. Some snakes hibernate alone while others hibernate in groups. Each winter in Canada, thousands of garter snakes hibernate together in one place in the southern part of Canada. Snakes may use a den for sleeping, hibernating or just to protect themselves from bad weather. Size Snakes never stop growing. Some snakes can be smaller than a worm; others can be as long as a school bus. The biggest snake is the Green Anaconda; they can grow to be as long as a bus. A thread Snake is as small as the lead in a pencil, and are the smallest species of snake. The heaviest snake is the Green Anaconda and can weigh up to 550 pounds(as much as a lion) The smallest snake is the lesser Antillean Thread Snake, which was discovered in 2001. The amount of thread snakes to be as long as a pythons is 100. The largest documented snake was from Indonesia. It was a Reticulated Python that was 33 feet long. Snakes can be as thick as tires. Male snakes tend to be smaller than females. Age Some snakes live for forty years. The Philadelphia Zoo had a python that lived for 47 years; it was the oldest known snake. Snakes usually live to be twenty years old or older. Good Causes Medicines Studies Environmental Human dangers Sweetwater, Texas holds the biggest Rattlesnake Roundup in the world. Snake roundups greatly reduce the snake populations. This causes rodent populations to increase, making the ecosystem unbalanced. Snakes sometimes get run over by cars when they cross the road. Snake habitats are being destroyed by buildings. Snakes are also becoming endangered because they are killed for their skins that are made into different items. People kill snakes because they are afraid of them. Most are harmless. Snakes are scared of us. They try to defend themselves, but 3000 people die each year. Snakes don’t eat people; they attack only to defend themselves. These attacks happen usually in deserts or tropical areas. Natural Dangers Some predators of snakes are, hawks, foxes,raccoons, and other snakes. Snakes eat pests, such as rats, mice, and insects. This helps farmers grow their crops. This also helps the environment, for the populations of the prey are not excruciatingly high. Snakes have been use to help people to go in space, they have been used to study the effect of gravity on the flow of blood. Herpetologists are scientists that study all about snakes. These scientists have identified about 3000 different species of snakes on the world. There are medicines for high blood pressure that are made out of snake venom. Medicine is made from snake poison to cure snake bites. Protection Color Snakes use the color of their scales to camouflage into their surroundings, it helps them hide from predators and catch their prey. Some snakes use bright colors to warn off predators. These colors show the predator that the snake might be poisonous. Such as, the Milk snake. Milk snakes are harmless, but they are colored to look similar to a poisonous Coral Snake. Reaction of Protection To protect themselves from predators, some snakes use camouflage, puff up their bodies, spread out hoods, play dead, show bright colors, rattle, hiss or even spit venom. Some just slither away as fast as possible or quickly hide. Some snakes try to make themselves look bigger and scary by opening their mouths wide. Green Anaconda Thread Snake The most common reptile is the snake. There about 3 thousand species of snakes in the world. A golden tree snake can glide through 30 feet to another tree. Snakes are reptiles. Snakes live all over the world. The fastest snake is the Black Mamba; they can travel up to 12 mile per hour, which is twice as fast as most people can run. Snakes are ticklish. Glass Lizards are lizards without legs. These lizards look like snakes except for their lizard heads. They are mostly found in Florida. The Coal, Mole, Five-lined, Great Plains, Southern Prairie, Brown Mabuya, Sand and Ground are all skinks. They live in central and Eastern North America. These skinks have very small limbs, so they may seem like a snake at first. The most widespread snake in North America is the Garter snake. Certain snakes in South America can flatten their bodies and glide through the air. There are no snakes that live naturally in Ireland, New Zealand, Iceland or Antarctica. Snakes live underground, in trees, on land and in water. Any area of the state, with a perimeter of red, is the range of where this snake lives. Any area of the state, with a perimeter of red, is the range of where this snake lives.
Lives in ponds, lake shores, and the edges of streams and rivers Size 2-4 ½ feet, longest can be 9 ¼ feet or more Diet Eats amphibians, frogs, crayfish, and earthworms Reproduction Gives birth to live young, 12-3 dozen Habitat Snake Myth and History Today over 200 species of snakes in the world are endangered or threatened. To tell the milk snake and coral snake apart, there is a little rhyme: Red on black, is a friend to Jack. But, red on yellow, will kill a fellow. This rhyme is mostly stating that if the color yellow is touching red, the snake is poisonous. But, if the red is only touching the black, it is the harmless milk snake. Even though you might tell them apart, you should never go near a wild snake, just because they are not poisonous, doesn't mean they will react in a friendly way! Milk Snake Coral Snake The Mimicking of the Milk Snake Habitat Reproduction Diet Size Eats small snails and slugs Lives in wooded area, can be found under rocks, and in logs, moist areas but not wet 8-10 inches, record is 16 inches Gives birth up
to 21 live young Reproduction Diet Habitat Size Gives birth to 10-12 live young Eats freshly molted crayfish Lives in flooded bottom land forests, wooded stream and riverbanks, and cypress domes 14-23 inches, record is 36 inches Habitat Size Reproduction Diet Gives birth to live young Eats earthworms, small snails and insects Lives in pine forests, damp soil, logs, and tree debris 7-13 inches, record is 15 inches Reproduction Habitat Diet Size Earthworms, small slugs, snails, soft-bodied insects and insect larvae. Gives birth up to 12 live young Fields, woodlands, gardens and pastures, where soil is able to be burrowed Up to 13 inches Diet Habitat Size Reproduction Diet 10-14 inches, record is 19 inches Lives in open deciduous forests near water and rocky slopes, where rocks and leaves are littered over the forest floor Gives birth to live young Eats slugs, earthworms, caterpillars, and snails 8-10 inches, record is 16 inches Diet Eats small snails and slugs Size Smallest out of two species of Storeria found in the U.S. Habitat Lives in wooded area, can be found under rocks, and in logs, moist areas but not wet Reproduction Gives birth to up to 21 live young Eats fish, frogs, salamanders, toads, earthworms Habitat Lives in semi-open lowland, stream banks, suburban ditches, north evergreen woodlands, bottom land forests, south pinelands, cypress, everglades Size 20-28 inches, record is 49 inches Diet Reproduction Gives birth to live young, 6-60 young Gives birth to live young Size 20-32 inches, record is 38 inches long Habitat Lives in wooded, grass and marsh land areas Diet Eats crustaceans, frogs, fish, toads and earthworms Reproduction Eats salamanders, frogs, snakes, skinks, and worms Size Habitat 10-14 inches, record is just under 28 inches Lives in forest opening, near pond edges, under rocks and leaves, and in logs Reproduction Lays eggs Diet Eats earthworms, cutworms and grubs Habitat Reproduction Lives in backyards, vacant lots, fields, meadows and open woodlands Egg laying, 1-5 eggs Diet 8-10 inches, record is 13 ¼ inches Size Habitat Reproduction Diet Size Lives in mixed tree forests and swamp borders 16-32 inches Lays eggs Eats reptile eggs, Lizards, snakes and nestling rodents Lives in rocky hillsides, barnyards, trash piles, damp lowlands Reproduction Lays 6-24 eggs Habitat Size Diet 24-40 inches, record is 52 inches Eats lizards, rodent nestlings 7-11 ½ inches, record is 82 inches Habitat Size Reproduction Diet Lay 3-29 eggs Eats turtle eggs, smaller mammals, birds, fish, frogs, and snakes including venomous snakes Lives in pine forests, hardwood forests, fields, meadows and marshes 30-40 inches, record is 47 inches Habitat Lives in pine and oak forests, meadow and wooded areas Diet Eats small animals and reptiles Reproduction Lays eggs Size 18-44 inches, record is 72 inches Habitat Reproduction Diet Size Lays 3-40 eggs Eats rodents, lizards, birds and frogs Lives in pine/hardwood forests, marshlands, farms, bridges, human buildings 4 ½-5 ½ feet, record is 100 inches Size Reproduction Habitat Diet Lays 8-20 eggs Eats insects, rodents, bird, bird eggs, lizards, and frogs Lives in woodlands, backyards, heaps or piles of wood, trash or rocks Diet Reproduction Habitat Size 3-4 feet, record is 81 inches Habitat Reproduction Diet Size Eats lizards, rodents, smaller snakes, frogs, baby birds, and insects Lives in rural gardens, fields, meadows, pastures, open woodlands, rocky hillsides, and suburban fence rows Lays 3-32 eggs Eats lizards, toad, and frogs Size 20-33 inches, record is 45 ½ inches Reproduction Lays 4-61 eggs Habitat Lives in pine forests and grasslands Diet Habitat Reproduction Lives in trees, vines and bushes that are near water Mates in spring and fall
Lays about 3-12, 1 ½ inch long eggs, hatching are 7 1/8 inches long Diet Size 20-45 5/8 inches long Eats grasshoppers, crickets, caterpillars and spiders Eats insects and spiders Size Reproduction 14-26 inches long Lays 3-11 eggs in July-August. Hatchlings are 4- 6 ½ inches long Habitat Lives in meadows, grassy marshes and moist grassy fields that border the forests edge Diet Any area of the state, with a perimeter of red, is the range of where this snake lives. Any area of the state, with a perimeter of red, is the range of where this snake lives. Bibliography Habitat Reproduction Diet Size Aquatic, cypress swamps, rivers and creeks Up to 50 eggs, average of 20 Sometimes known as “Eel Moccasins” because they like to eat eels
Salamanders, frogs, and tadpoles Up to 60 inches Known for their noisy hiss, they have a cartilage structure in the throat just in front of the windpipe that causes the loud hiss. 48-66 inches Egg laying 72-84 inches Eggs, rodents (especially pocket gophers), and lizards Forests, woods, plains, and sand hills, also burrows underground. The only snakes know to dig hibernacula and summer dens. Currently a threatened snake Interesting insects, earthworms, small snakes, small lizards, salamanders and frogs Size Habitat Diet Reproduction Hardwood forests containing rotting logs and old stumps, sawdust piles, field edges, and suburban backyards 2-10 whitish eggs 10-14 inches Rodents, lizards, and other snakes Habitat Size Diet Reproduction Fields near woodlands and in open pine and mixed hardwood forests, usually found on the coastal plain Egg laying 24 - 36 inches. Record - 52 inches Contant, Roger. Reptiles and Amphibians, Eastern/Central North America.
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New York, NY 2010. Conant, Roger and Collins, Joseph. PETERSON FIELD GUIDES, Reptiles and Amphibians, Eastern/Central North America. New York, NY 1991 Kelly, Howard. Snakes of Maryland.
Baltimore, MD 1936 Gives birth to 2-10 live young Size Diet Reproduction Habitat 26-34 inches, record is 53 inches Lives in mixed woodlands and rocky areas. Copperheads may share hibernation dens with other snakes. Eats insects, lizards, amphibians, birds, rodents, and smaller snakes Gives birth to live young, average of 10.
Barely mates, reason why threatened? Habitat Reproduction Diet Size 34-48 inches, record is just over 6 feet Lives in upland wooded and rocky ridges Eats lizards, amphibians, rats, mice, rabbits, ground nesting birds SNAKES: The Limbless Reptiles
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