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Non-venomous snakes/ Constrictors - here’s the T.
Up until today every snake I have held has been NON-VENOMOUS. Unlike the usual venomous species (Cobras, mambas, vipers), they DO NOT possess venom glands or fangs. Instead, they have rows of teeth which are used to grab prey. These snakes include ALL BOAS AND PYTHONS and some species of the Colubrid family. Boas and pythons are some of the largest snakes in the world and are found on every continent apart from Antarctica. In general, pythons are larger than boas with the exception of the Green Anaconda (water boa) which is the largest (not longest) snake in the world. A bite from a smaller species of boas or pythons would do little to no damage (far less than a dog bite), whereas bites from larger species could require medical attention due to the risk of infections. Instead of venom, constrictors produce immense muscle power to overcome prey. Once held onto by powerful teeth, the snake will wrap around its victim using its axil muscles. This creates a pressure so intense, that it begins to squeeze the blood vessels of the prey to a near close. The vessels in the heart soon completely shut off, causing the heart to stop pumping blood and hence cut off blood supply to the rest of the body. So the misconception of victims dying of suffocation is really just a MYTH. Once dead, the snake begins to swallow its prey whole (does not have teeth which allows chewing) with the help of a flexible lower jaw enables the snake to open its mouth nearly 180 degrees. Like all other snakes, constrictors DO NOT chase, attack or kill humans as part of their life cycle. Attacks on humans happen during a forced confrontation, mishandling, threatening or in rare cases if the victim is defenceless (children etc). These snakes are born hunters like any other predators and should be treated with respect.
BIG 4: These are the venomous snakes responsible for the most snakebites and human fatalities in India.
•(Top left) Saw-scales viper: Although small, 30-60 cm, these snakes are the most aggressive and fastest striking species in Asia. Part of the Viperidae family, these species are primarily hemotoxic. A bite from this snake affects blood coagulation. When threatened, they produce a sizzling sound. Like all other vipers, these snakes too bear live young.
•(Top right) Indian Cobra: A medium sized, but highly venomous Elapid. These snakes produce neurotoxic and cardiotoxic venom which causes severe burning sensation followed by muscle paralysis. Like other cobras, they are oviparous and incubate their eggs. They can be easily identified by the spectacled marking on the back of their hood.
•(Bottom left) Russell’s viper: These heavy-bodied vipers are responsible for the maximum number of deaths in Asia. They are also highly successful hunters producing a venom consisting of neurotoxins and hemotoxins. Like all other vipers, they bear live young.
•(Bottom right) Common krait: These relatively docile snakes are considered the most venomous of the Big 4. They are nocturnal, where they become slightly more aggressive than if encountered during the day. Like other Elapids, they are primarily neurotoxic, holding onto the victim while injecting large amounts of venom. Although the bite is completely painless, pre and post-synaptic toxins lead to paralysis.
Like other snakes, these 4 do not bite UNLESS PROVOKED. However, in the unfortunate circumstance of being bitten, remain calm (slows down rate of diffusion) and seek medical help immediately as anti-venom is essential.
📸: Shoutout to whoever took these pictures. DM me for credits please!
A couple things you probably didn’t know about Charlie:
• He’s a red-tailed boa (or boa constrictor).
• He turns 4 this year (and can live up to 20+ years in captivity).
• He needs a lot of patience while feeding as he is still skittish when provided with a food item and then takes twice as long to actually finish his meal.
• Despite what I’d like to believe, he does NOT have an emotional relationship with me. He is just extremely comfortable around me as he knows I do not pose a threat.
• He was born in captivity, so for anyone wondering if it affects his wellbeing by being constrained within a vivarium, it DOES NOT. It’s the only world he knows and if released into the wild, he would not survive more than a week (detailed post on this coming up💁🏻♀️).
• He is extremely shy and would take a while to get used to new people.
• He lets me kiss him without showing even the slightest bit of defensive or aggressive behaviour (Do not try this with snakes in general, you will get bitten).
• He has never been sexed. I refuse to know his true gender as I’ve always known him as a boy.
• Yes, I’ve claimed all rights on him even though I do not legally own him.
📸: that’s my leg he’s coiled around.
Venomous snakes have specialised teeth known as fangs which they use to inject venom. Venom is made up of complex proteins stored in glands at the back of the head. Although there are numerous components, venom is classified under 3 main categories:
1. Neurotoxic: affects the nervous system by destroying neurotransmitter and causing muscle paralysis which leads to respiratory failure.
2. Hemotoxic: damages the circulatory system by rupturing red blood cells and disrupting coagulation. This leads to sever internal and external bleeding.
3. Cytotoxic: destroys body cells leading to the death of the organ through sever necrosis. Cardiotoxins and myotoxins are cytotoxins that affect the heart and muscles.
No matter the type, all venom contains the enzyme Hyaluronidase (rapid diffusion)
Over 2000 snake species are venomous, though only 50 are lethal to humans. Most venomous snakes fall into one of three categories:
1. Elapids: These short, front-fanged snakes include the cobras, mambas, coral snakes, taipans and tiger snakes. They are primarily neurotoxic, however some species contain cytotoxic venom (spitting cobra).
2. Viperidae: With long hinged fangs that fold backwards when not in use, these snakes include the true vipers and pit vipers. Although typically hemotoxic, exceptions include the puff adder (cytotoxic venom).
3. Colubrids: The largest snake family, most of these species are non-venomous or harmless to humans with the exceptions of the boomslang and vine snakes (hemotoxic venom)
Usual reminder: Snakes DO NOT attack unless provoked or threatened. However, in the unfortunate circumstance you are bitten, please seek medical help immediately
📸: Shoutout to whoever took this picture of a Mozambique spitting cobra. DM me for credits please!
This one’s my favourite.
The black mamba is the longest venomous species in Africa and the second longest in the world. They possess neurotoxic venom, making it the 4th most potent venom of snake species. A bite from this snake leads to immediate symptoms such as slurred speech, blurred vision, paralysis of muscles and finally respiratory failure. Although only a tiny amount of venom would require medical attention, mambas are known to excrete large amounts in one bite. These snakes are shy in nature, however have a reputation of being highly aggressive when cornered or threatened. As a defensive strategy, the mamba will expose its inky-black mouth (from which it gets its name), before striking. Recent research has confirmed that along with being the fastest snake in the world, mambas are also the fastest strikers, making them the most feared African snake. The black mamba is part of the Elapidae family (front-fanged), and is one of four other mamba species, all native to Africa. Do not cross a black mamba, you will regret it. Respect them from a distance and you’ll appreciate how beautiful they really are🥰