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Slither away

Large or small, venomous or harmless, snakes make us feel powerless and overawed. It could be their hypnotising eyes or their mesmerising ways...

Snakes have gotten something of a bad rap for ages now. They have been portrayed as evil, scheming, dangerous...the list is endless. Think of Voldemort and Nagini, for instance, from the Harry Potter series. It was merely the instrument of Voldemort’s shenanigans, but it was as maligned as he was. So, how do we overcome our fears about these creatures and get rid of the bias? Well, for starters, how about celebrating World Snake Day, which falls on July 16, and getting to know more about them?

POPE’S PIT VIPER: Beautifully dangerous. .

POPE’S PIT VIPER: Beautifully dangerous. .   | Photo Credit: Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Let’s start with the Pope’s pit viper, found in north and northwest Thailand, it is a beauty to behold, but also potentially dangerous. Venomous in nature, its green coloured body is a perfect camouflage.

SAINT LUCIA RACER: Exceptionally uncommon.

SAINT LUCIA RACER: Exceptionally uncommon.   | Photo Credit: Photo: Flickr

It is slithery, brown, and doesn’t mind being picked up. Yep, such snakes exist too. Meet Saint Lucia racer, which is now the rarest snake in the world. A five-month extensive survey found just 18 of these on a small islet, off of the Caribbean Island of Saint Lucia. Most had fallen prey to mongoose which had invaded the island.

SAN FRANCISCO GARTER SNAKE: Geometry in motion.

SAN FRANCISCO GARTER SNAKE: Geometry in motion.   | Photo Credit: Photo: Flickr

Then there’s the San Francisco garter snake, a sight to behold, with its beautiful black, orange-red, and black body. It is on the Endangered Species List, with perhaps only around 2,000 remaining.

GREEN TREE PYTHON: Expert hue changer.

GREEN TREE PYTHON: Expert hue changer.   | Photo Credit: Photo: Pixabay

The green tree python is known for, well, being green. But did you know that green isn’t the only colour that this species turns up in? Juvenile pythons may be bright yellow, vibrant red or even a very dark brown. Though gorgeous to behold in its adult version, it is stunning to watch it when young, and evolving through the different stages of colour.

DAREVSKY’S VIPER: Viciously venomous.

DAREVSKY’S VIPER: Viciously venomous.  

Yet another species that is on the verge of extinctionis the Vipera darevskii, a venomous viper which can only be found in north western Armenia and north eastern Turkey. It is named after Ilya Darevsky, who was one of the first to find and identify the species. Due to the destruction of its natural habitat from overgrazing by domestic animals, it is on the decline — at last count, there were only about 500 individuals left in the wild.

EMERALD TREE BOA: Green, but not mean.

EMERALD TREE BOA: Green, but not mean.   | Photo Credit: Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Emerald Tree boa is a non-venomous boa species found in the rainforests of South America. They are conflicting in nature — in the wild, they can be quite aggressive, for, they are ambush predators and have one strike to catch their prey off guard, thus making them move quickly and decisively. Indoors, however, they are quite docile and are content to sun themselves under their heat lamps.

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 3:23:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/slither-away/article28344518.ece

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