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Believe it or not…. Snakes develop penises using genes from their missing limbs

Snakes develop penises using genes from their missing limbs

Stephanie Pappas for LiveScience

Snakes lack limbs, but new research finds that they still have DNA crucial to limb development lurking in their genomes. So, why keep that genetic baggage around?
To build a penis, of course.
A new study, published Oct. 1 in the journal Developmental Cell, reveals that the same genetic snippets that control the outgrowth of limbs (called enhancers) during embryonic development in mammals are crucial to the development of the phallus in both mammals and reptiles — including legless snakes. (The embryonic phallus structure eventually becomes a penis in males and a clitoris in females.)
SEE ALSO: See photos of snake embryos developing a phallus
“It tells us that we are a little bit myopic in thinking about what these limb enhancers are doing in mammals,” said study leader Doug Menke, a genetics researcher at the University of Georgia. “We’ve really been thinking of these as limb enhancers, but more broadly, these genetic components are actually also participating in development and driving gene expression in other body tissues,” he told Live Science.

Missing legs
Menke and his team are interested in DNA components called cis-regulatory elements, or enhancers. Unlike DNA coding, these segments of genetic information don’t provide the recipe for proteins. Instead, they’re noncoding segments. Their job is to control how the protein-coding genes get turned on and off.
Hundreds of these segments are involved in the process of building limbs in utero, Menke said, referring to knowledge gained mostly through research in mice. The researchers wanted to gain a better understanding of how the limb enhancers contribute to the evolution of different sizes and shapes of limbs.
“You can’t get much more extreme than an animal that completely lacks limbs,” Menke said. (Some snakes do have tiny vestigial hind limbs, leftovers from the days when snakes did have limbs more than 80 million years ago.)
The researchers first looked at the genomes of three snake species (boa constrictors, Burmese pythons and king cobras) and a reptile with legs, the Anolis lizard. They found a surprise.
“The number of these enhancers that we could detect in lizards versus snakes was very similar,” Menke said. “By and large, if we could find a limb enhancer that was conserved between mammals and lizards, we could also find the same enhancer in a snake.”

Limbs vs. penises
This finding was strange, because DNA is a “use it or lose it” sort of tool, Menke said. In the 80 million years since snakes lost their legs, the limb-enhancing DNA should have become a mess of random mutations. The fact that these sequences were intact suggested they might serve an important function, he said.

The researchers already knew that many mammalian limb enhancers are also active during embryonic development of the external genitalia. In the new study, Menke’s team used mice to find that about half of gene segments dubbed limb enhancers are also active in phallus development. After all, both limbs and phalluses are outgrowths off the main body, Menke said, so it makes sense that they’d share genes to get the job done.
When looking at the Anolis lizards, the researchers found limb enhancers also affected both hind limbs and genitals. Then, they took snake enhancer sequences and spliced them into the DNA of developing mouse embryos. They found that the snake DNA segments could no longer “turn on” the genes in the mouse back legs — but they could activate the genes in the mouse genital tract. In other words, Menke said, the snake’s enhancer segments have specialized to become phallus-specific.

Evolution of the phallus
These findings matter in part because they expand scientists’ knowledge of the evolution of external genitalia. The hypothesis, Menke said, is that ancient, limbless animals reused their leg genes to develop penises when internal fertilization developed. (The penis first showed up about 310 million years ago in evolution.) These findings mesh with that notion.
The research also has implications for humans. There are genetic disorders that result in limb and genital birth defects. One example is the rare hand-foot-genital syndrome, in which people have shortened thumbs and shortened big toes, abnormalities in the wrists and ankles, and defects in the urethra and sometimes in the uterus. That syndrome is the result of a mutation in a protein-coding gene, Menke said. The new research suggests that defects in noncoding limb enhancers might cause problems, too.
The next question, Menke said, is what makes the enhancers specialized for the limbs or the genitals. Are there differences in which proteins bind to these DNA segments? Or are the differences between limbs and genitals driven by differences in the DNA segments themselves?
“Some of the circuitry has to be different,” Menke said. “The morphology and function of the phallus is very different from your legs.”
Source: http://mashable.com/2015/10/02/snakes-penis/#qxf8Dkw2bPqE

Meet the World’s Biggest Snakes

Meet the World’s Biggest Snakes
by Elizabeth Palermo, Staff Writer

Love them or hate them, there’s no denying that snakes are an impressive bunch of reptiles. These critters have existed for millions of years, are able to survive in an array of climates and are found on every continent except Antarctica.
But which species of slithering reptile is the hardest to overlook? While there are several contenders for the title of world’s largest snake, here are three of the biggest and longest snakes known to man:
Weighing in at 550 pounds, the aptly named giant anaconda (Eunectes murinus) is the largest snake in the world considering its length-to-weight ratio. This species, also known as the green anaconda, averages about 17 feet in length, though some individuals grow to as long as 30 feet.
And this aquatic monster has been known to measure as much as three feet around the middle. But don’t worry: Giant anacondas don’t bite. Instead, they kill their prey by suffocating or drowning it.
Growing up to 30 feet long, the reticulated python (Python reticulatus) of southeastern Asia and the East Indies is the longest snake in the world. These giants have an average weight of 250 pounds, but the largest known specimen in existence weighs in at a whopping 350 pounds.
Unlike anacondas, these snakes bite their prey and swallow it whole, after squeezing it to death — slowly. Despite their unpredictability, pythons are popular pets for exotic snake owners. Medusa, a captive reticulated python in Kansas City, Mo., earns her keep as part of a haunted-house exhibit.
But neither the sprawling python nor the giant anaconda can hold a candle to their prehistoric predecessor, Titanoboa cerrejonensis. The fossilized remains of this 42-foot-long, 2,500 pound monster were unearthed in Colombia in 2009.
Scientists used the mathematical relationship between the size of vertebrae and the length of the body in living snakes to determine the ancient snake’s mass. These reptiles are believed to have slithered around the Earth from 58 million to 60 million years ago.
Source: http://www.livescience.com/34444-biggest-snake-largest-snake-longest-snake.html?cmpid=514645_20151002_53344046&adbid=649803503922114560&adbpl=tw&adbpr=15428397

Flea market shopper finds 8-foot python nestled in clothes

Flea market shopper finds 8-foot python nestled in clothes

HOMESTEAD, Fla. — An 8-foot, 40-pound python was found at a Florida flea market Sunday morning.

Multiple media outlets reported that a woman was looking through a stack of jeans, T-shirts and shorts when she found the snake. Flea market employees then called the fire department.
Miami-Dade Fire-Rescue Lt. Scott Mullen said the python was likely looking for a cozy place to digest its meal. Pythons are nocturnal, and usually eat during the night and then look for dark, warm spots to digest food by day. The reptiles are not venomous, but do have more than 100 sharp teeth and will bite, Mullen said.
Firefighters removed the python from the flea market and gave it to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Source: http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/weird-news/flea-market-shopper-finds-8-foot-python-nestled-cl/nnqJ5/?ecmp=pbp_social_twitter_2015_sfp

Well… How many people are fortunate enough to have a living snakeskin belt… something different for sure..
Contrary to what was stated in this article, not all pythons are nocturnal, and even some of those that are at times become active during the day…

Are Snakes Territorial?

Territoriality in a snake
By Whiting, on September 25th, 2015

While there are snakes that have been shown to be territorial in an ecological context, such as Taiwanese kukrisnakes which defend sea turtle nests (citation below), territoriality in a sexual selection context has never been demonstrated in a snake. Until now. Jonno Webb has been studying broadheaded and small-eyed snakes in Morton National Park, New South Wales, for about two decades. We know from Jonno’s field studies that snakes occur under particular types of rocks that vary in temperature and which are a discrete resource. When males monopolise a rock shelter, they are also able to monopolise any females sharing that shelter and this is the basis for territotiality to evolve. This work has recently been published in the journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology and follows from Mitch Scott’s earlier work that we published in Animal Behaviour.

Here is the abstract:
Territorial behaviour, whereby dominant animals gain priority access to critical resources, is widespread in some animal lineages, but rare in others. Theory suggests that territoriality will evolve only when animals can economically defend sites that contain critical resources (typically mates, sometimes food). In striking contrast to their close relatives the lizards, male defence of territories for access to mates has not been reported in snakes. In south-eastern Australia, receptive female small-eyed snakes thermoregulate under hot rocks, concentrating mating opportunities and thus, potentially allowing males to enhance their fitness by defending these rocks from rivals. We videotaped staged contests between resident and intruder males and analysed data on cohabitation patterns from a long-term (21 years) mark-recapture study. In staged contests, males actively defended hot rocks from intruder males; and thus, larger males actively displaced their smaller rivals. In the wild, larger males were found under rocks with more or larger females. These results suggest that the thermally driven concentration of female small-eyed snakes has rendered hot rocks economically defensible, and thus favoured the evolution of territoriality in a snake.

Webb, J.K., M.L. Scott, M.J. Whiting, and R. Shine. 2015. Territoriality in a snake. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 69(10): 1657-1661. DOI 10.1007/s00265-015-1977-y.
The paper is available here.

Also see this paper: Huang WS, Greene HW, Chang TJ, Shine R (2011) Territorial behavior in Taiwanese kukrisnakes (Oligodon formosanus). P Natl Acad Sci USA 108:7455-7459.
Source: http://whitinglab.com/?p=4980

Killers of python in Calabar pastor’s abode: Handling snake is our culture; no charms or juju

Killers of python in Calabar pastor’s abode: Handling snake is our culture; no charms or juju
By Ike Uchechukwu

CALABAR— FOLLOWING the crossfire over the killing of a suspected 19-year-old python in the residence of the Senior Pastor of Mega Faith Christian Assembly, Calabar, Rev Tony Amba, reported in a past edition of Niger Delta Voice, head of the Hausa snake killers that got rid of the threatening python, Danzaria Rabiu, has disclosed how they killed the snake.
Rabiu, who spoke through an interpreter, during the week, told Niger Delta Voice that he and his colleagues were not snake charmers or hunters as described and did not use diabolical means to kill the snake.
He said they hail from a family in Zaria with innate abilities to handle snakes without harm. Rabiu stated that though he spoke about remains of lizards and dogs found in the ceiling, it was unconnected to the pastor’s apartment as the reference was to another incident. He said that his statement that the snake would have lived in the ceiling for about 10 years followed his knowledge of snakes and certain characteristics he observed.
“I dey praise Allah for the Pastor because e be like say the snake get mission for that place, but God dey with pastor well well, because me wey kill the snake believe say e get as e be. But I still thank Allah because na God know everything about the snake,” Rabiu said.
Another member of the group, Ibrahim Yusuf told Niger Delta Voice that the killing of the snake did not involve the use of any charm. But he would not blame people, who believe that they used charm due to the poisonous nature of snakes.
Pointing at his brother, Yusuf, who stood beside him, he said: “Even this my little brother as small as he is, if he crosses a snake or touches one, nothing will happen to him. It is just our culture and tradition; it is a gift from God not any charm at all.
“All my family members and some families from my place are gifted with this ability. Although I left my place after I finished secondary school, but I am still gifted with the ability. “We do not use charms and we did not use any charm to kill the snake at the pastor’s house.
It’s our way of life
“My brother’s explanation was not well understood. From the time we suck our mother’s breast, they give us “dowri” and it is not a charm it is just our culture,” Yusuf added.
Also speaking with Niger Delta Voice, a snake keeper, Mallam Idris Lawal stated: “Since I was born, I grew up to see my father keeping snakes without anything attached to it, you know we also have people like us in Cross River, especially in northern part of the state. but I will not blame anyone who believes that we use charm or diabolical means to keep them.”
“If the snake is too violent, I just remove the teeth. I have been beaten many times but they cannot harm me because it is my culture and not charms at all. I do not know about other people, but most people from my axis like Yusuf and Rabiu do not use any black magic at all.”
Rev Amba, who spoke to Niger Delta Voice on the incident, said: “Everything that happened that day was nothing less than a miracle. Only God knows how long it has lived there. “But for me, my family and the ministry which he has given to me to oversee, it is a September to remember.”
Source: http://linkis.com/www.vanguardngr.com/KZUL4

???? What can you say… This behaviour is so wrong!!!

Confronting the Neglected Problem of Snake Bite Envenoming

Confronting the Neglected Problem of Snake Bite Envenoming: The Need for a Global Partnership

• José María Gutiérrez ,
• R. David G Theakston,
• David A Warrell

Envenoming resulting from snake bites is an important public health hazard in many regions, particularly in tropical and subtropical countries [1–3]. Although antivenoms are being produced by various laboratories in every continent, the burden of snake bite envenoming—causing both morbidity and mortality—still has a great impact on the population and on health-care systems, especially in Africa, Asia, Oceania, and Latin America [4]. Unfortunately, public health authorities, nationally and internationally, have given little attention to this problem, relegating snake bite envenoming to the category of a major neglected disease of the 21st century.

• The Global Burden of Snake Bite Envenoming
In the tropical developing countries where snake bites occur most commonly, there are few reliable incidence data. One serious attempt to assess global snake bite mortality was the survey undertaken by Swaroop and Grabb in 1954, which was based largely on hospital admissions [3]. Subsequent work has revealed gross underreporting of deaths in this study—for example, in Nigeria [5] and Thailand [1, 6]. One reason is that records of patients treated by traditional methods are missing from official databased statistics, and deaths reported at the hamlet or district level may not be sent on to ministry headquarters. Accepting these limitations, the fragmentary evidence available suggests that several million bites and envenomings occur worldwide each year, with tens of thousands of deaths [2, 3].
Properly designed population surveys are likely to give a far more accurate picture of snake bite incidence, morbidity, and mortality. In Asia, the highest recorded mortality was 162 snake bite deaths per 100,000 people per year, in the Eastern Terai of Nepal [7]. In Africa, for instance, the incidence of snake bites in the Benue Valley of northeastern Nigeria was 497 per 100,000 people per year, with a mortality of 12.2% [5]. The reasons for the high levels of snake bite mortality in tropical developing countries include scarcity of antivenoms, poor health services, and difficulties with rapid access to health centres [8]. Large numbers of victims survive with permanent physical and psychological sequelae, mostly due to the tissue-damaging effects of snake venoms. Young agricultural workers, especially males, are the most highly affected group, making snake bite envenoming a truly occupational disease—a fact that is frequently overlooked by national authorities. Children are also common victims of snake bites. There is significant seasonal variation in snake bite incidence that is attributable to climate, especially to rain fall and temperature, which determine annual cycles of agricultural activity.

• Species That Cause High Morbidity and Mortality
Most severe cases of snake bite envenoming are inflicted by species of the family Elapidae (cobras, kraits, mambas, Australasian species, and sea snakes) and the family Viperidae (rattlesnakes, lance-headed pit vipers, and true vipers). The species causing the largest numbers of bites and fatalities are Echis sp. (saw-scaled vipers) in northern Africa, Bothrops asper and B. atrox (lance-headed pit vipers) in Central and South America, and Naja sp. (cobras) and Bungarus sp. (kraits) in Asia. Many other species, although not responsible for a large number of cases worldwide, constitute a serious problem in specific regions.

Clinical Features of Snake Bite Envenoming
Envenomings by most viperid snakes inflict prominent local tissue damage, characterised by swelling, blistering, haemorrhage, and necrosis of skeletal muscle (Figure 2). Bites by some elapids, such as African spitting cobras and some Asian cobras, also induce local necrosis. Such local pathology is mostly due to the action of phospholipases A2 and zinc-dependent metalloproteinases [12, 13]. These local effects develop rapidly after the bite; consequently, a delay in the access to health facilities frequently results in drastic tissue damage and permanent disability. Systemic effects of envenoming are also common and more immediately life-threatening. In elapid snake bites, neurotoxicity is a typical consequence, attributable to effects of pre- and/or postsynaptically acting neurotoxins targeting neuromuscular junctions. These toxins cause progressive descending paralysis, which may become life-threatening when bulbar and respiratory muscles are involved. In envenomings by several elapid snakes and some viperids, such as South American rattlesnakes, there is a generalised rhabdomyolysis induced by phospholipases A2, which may cause myoglobinaemia, hyperkalaemia, and acute renal failure. Systemic effects in viperid snake bites include spontaneous haemorrhage—cerebral haemorrhage being the most serious manifestation—defibrinogenation, disseminated intravascular coagulation, and cardiovascular shock secondary to hypovolaemia, vasodilation, and direct effects on the myocardium. Acute renal failure and acute respiratory distress syndrome are also described following viperid snake bites. There are abundant exceptions to this general pathophysiological profile since the amazing complexity of snake venom proteomes includes toxins with diverse clinical effects (see [14] for a general view on the clinical manifestations of snake bite envenomings).

Antivenoms and Ancillary Treatments in Envenoming
The intravenous administration of animal-derived (mostly horse or sheep) antivenoms is the mainstay and the only specific treatment of snake bite envenoming. Many laboratories produce antivenoms using various methodologies, which yield three different types of products depending on the nature of the active principle. In some cases, antivenoms consist of whole IgG molecules, but the majority of producers manufacture antivenoms composed of F(ab’)2 fragments obtained by pepsin digestion of IgG, and a few laboratories produce Fab fragments after papain digestion of IgG [4, 15]. Variations in the molecular mass of the active principle, as well as other immunological divergences among these types of antivenoms, determine different pharmacokinetic profiles, with evident pharmacodynamic implications—such as the described recurrence of envenoming—especially when using Fab antivenoms [16]. The large immunochemical diversity of snake venoms explains why the efficacy of antivenoms is generally restricted to a limited geographical and biological spectrum.
Clinical investigations have established that generally antivenoms are highly effective in the neutralisation of toxins responsible for systemic effects such as haemorrhage, coagulopathy, and haemodynamic disturbances. Similarly, a rapid reversal of neurotoxicity caused by postsynaptic neurotoxins in elapid envenomings is well established [1]. In contrast, antivenoms are not very effective in the reversal of neurotoxicity induced by presynaptically acting phospholipases A2. The main problem associated with antivenom efficacy has to do with local tissue damage [1]. This problem is not due to the lack of neutralizing antibodies in antivenoms, but rather to the extremely rapid development of local pathology, which renders it difficult for neutralizing antibodies to access the area before irreversible damage occurs [17].
Antivenom safety is also of current concern since, although the safety profile of some products is satisfactory, the administration of other antivenoms is associated with a high incidence of early and late adverse reactions [4, 15]. The precise mechanisms responsible for these reactions have not been clearly established, although there is strong evidence pointing to direct complement activation, effects of contaminating pyrogens, and reactions to immune complexes. The physicochemical characteristics of antivenoms—principally, the presence of protein aggregates, the purity of the active principle, and the total dose of protein administered—seem to be the main determinants of reactogenicity. Early adverse reactions are treated with adrenaline, antihistamines, or corticosteroids [6, 9].
Besides antivenom administration, the therapy of snake bite envenoming involves a number of ancillary interventions [6]. Assisted ventilation is life saving when the respiratory muscles are affected, and administration of acetylcholinesterase inhibitors has been used with success in some neurotoxic envenomings [6]. Hypovolaemia in viperid envenoming is corrected by the administration of plasma expanders, and dialysis or haemoperfusion may be needed in cases of acute renal failure. Renal damage by myoglobin or haemoglobin released by rhabdomyolysis or intravascular haemolysis may be prevented by rehydration and alkalinisation. Tetanus prophylaxis should be routine, and antibiotics may be required if signs of local infection develop. The bitten limb may require surgical debridement of necrotic tissue, but fasciotomy is rarely justified.

Developing New Treatments to Reduce Local Tissue Damage
Hydrolases such as metalloproteinases, phospholipases A2, and possibly hyaluronidases are mostly responsible for the local tissue damage frequently observed in snake bite envenoming. It is very difficult for IgG and its fragments to neutralise these toxins, so there is an urgent need to develop new therapies to counteract local venom effects. Venom hydrolases are homologous with endogenous mammalian enzymes, such as matrix metalloproteinases, a disintegrin and metalloproteinase (ADAM) enzymes, and inflammatory phospholipases A2. The pharmaceutical industry has developed a large number of inhibitors to these mammalian enzymes because of their relevance in many pathologies. Since many of these drugs have already been tested in clinical trials, there is an excellent opportunity to use some of these inhibitors to prevent local effects of snake bite envenoming. For instance, the peptidomimetic hydroxamate metalloproteinase inhibitor “batimastat” is highly effective in preventing local tissue damage and some systemic effects induced by the venom of B. asper [18, 19]. Similarly, phospholipase A2 and hyaluronidase inhibitors have proven successful at reducing the extent of venom-induced tissue damage at the experimental level [20, 21]. The advantages of this strategy are the following: (1) such inhibitors are usually low-molecular-mass components that can diffuse rapidly in the tissues, and (2) such inhibitors would be effective against a wide variety of venom metalloproteinases and phospholipases A2 present in the venoms of different genera and species, since most of them act at the active sites of these enzymes, which are highly conserved.

Towards More Effective and Safer Antivenoms
Despite the success of antivenoms in the therapy of snake bite envenoming, a number of research groups are working to improve the quality of antivenoms using different approaches: (1) new immunisation strategies, such as DNA immunisation or the use of purified relevant toxins as antigens instead of the whole venom [22]; (2) improved methods of antibody purification, aiming to obtain more refined products with reduced protein content [23]; (3) improved viral safety of antivenoms, by introducing steps such as pasteurisation, caprylic acid stabilisation, and nanofiltration [24]; (4) the search for other animal species from which it is possible to derive antivenoms—such as camels, which have a particular type of IgG devoid of light chains, and hens, which have IgY in their egg yolk [25]; and (5) preparation of antivenoms that combine complete antibodies with recombinant “nanobodies”, which by having a very low molecular mass may reach tissue compartments more readily than whole IgG or conventional IgG fragments [26]. In addition, there is a clear need for the design and development of controlled, randomised clinical trials in many countries to assess the effectiveness and safety of the antivenoms being used or introduced in such regions.

Conclusion: The Need for a Global Partnership
In various parts of the world, there is a continuing crisis in the production, deployment, and accessibility of antivenoms. This is particularly serious in Africa since various traditional suppliers have stopped producing antivenoms for this continent, and the privatisation of other producers has also affected supply. It is therefore a matter of great urgency to promote international collaboration—best coordinated by the World Health Organization—involving national and regional health organisations and diverse public–private partnerships in order to accomplish the following goals: (1) to gather accurate epidemiological information on the impact and characteristics of snake bite envenoming in many regions, using properly designed community studies; and (2) to provide effective and safe antivenoms in those regions where they are not currently available. This includes, in the short term, the commitment of various laboratories to produce antivenoms for these regions, such as the efforts being undertaken by various producers to manufacture new antivenoms for use in Africa [27–29]. Innovative approaches to pharmaceutical laboratories, both public and private, should be initiated in order to foster improvement in antivenom supply [30, 31]. The long-term goal should be to generate an effective transfer of antivenom-producing technologies to regions hyperendemic for snake bites, to allow them to manufacture their own antivenoms
Besides the technological issues of antivenom production and supply, efforts should be devoted in Africa, Asia, Oceania, and Latin America to the preparation of consensus guidelines and protocols for treatment and prevention of snake bites [32], and to the establishment of teaching programmes in medical and nursing schools. There is a need to develop health intervention strategies, adapted for the particular needs of every country and region, to achieve more rapid access to antivenom in health facilities. Such integrated and global efforts, involving many participants, will undoubtedly reduce the global burden of human suffering inflicted by this neglected disease.
Source: http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.0030150

This article was first Published: June 6, 2006.. 9 years later and still nothing has really changed… It’s all about $$$ for the big drug companies…

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Man bitten by venomous Gaboon viper

Winter Park man hospitalized after being bitten by snake

Man bitten by venomous Gaboon viper, officials said

WINTER PARK, Fla. —A Winter Park man was rushed to the hospital after he was bitten by a venomous Gaboon viper, according to police.
It happened Thursday afternoon at a home on Temple Drive, near Howell Branch Road.
The victim was rushed to Florida Hospital Orlando.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials responded to the home. Experts on scene concluded that the snake was a venomous Gaboon viper.
The snake was the man’s pet, officials said. The man is still in the hospital.
The retired science teacher’s snake hobby could have killed him inside his home, according to officials.

“The pet is secured, they were immediately transported,” said Winter Park Fire Chief Jim White.
The juvenile Gaboon viper is about 20 inches long. Rescue teams brought the man to the hospital.
Neighbors have expressed concern.
“It’s a viper. Oh my God,” said neighbor Judi Isaacson.
Isaacson said she knew nothing about venomous snakes inside the home.
“It’s very concerning, I’ve got my dogs here and I saw that other snake story and wasn’t paying any attention because it’s not near me, but I guess there are snakes everywhere,” Isaacson said.
So what is a Gaboon viper?
“It actually does have the longest fangs for any venomous snake,” said former Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission trapper, Fred Bohler.
Bohler said it’s a deadly creature.

“The Gaboon is bad venom, and if it was in a captive scenario, it tends to be more of an aggressive species,” Bohler said.
The owner is licensed for the snakes, and FWC thinks the bite was just a mistake.

“It wasn’t as if the snake had gotten out from my understanding. I think he was bitten on the hand, but based on the evidence, it looks like a simple keeper mishap,” said Steve McDaniel, FWC investigator.
The victim will likely recover from the bite.
FWC requested antivenin from the Central Florida Zoo and there’s more on the way from Miami.
“Just to be on the safe side because we don’t know how many vials he’s going to need,” McDaniel said.
McDaniel said a neighbor and someone from their office will check on the rest of the reptiles. The victim has more than 10 snakes in his home.
McDaniel also said the owner is well-known to local herpetologists, and he’s known him personally for 20 years. He said this is the first time he’s ever known of an issue.
Isaacson said she knew nothing about venomous snakes inside the home.
“It’s very concerning, I’ve got my dogs here and I saw that other snake story and wasn’t paying any attention because it’s not near me, but I guess there are snakes everywhere,” Isaacson said.
So what is a Gaboon viper?
“It actually does have the longest fangs for any venomous snake,” said former Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission trapper, Fred Bohler.
Bohler said it’s a deadly creature.

“The Gaboon is bad venom, and if it was in a captive scenario, it tends to be more of an aggressive species,” Bohler said.
The owner is licensed for the snakes, and FWC thinks the bite was just a mistake.

“It wasn’t as if the snake had gotten out from my understanding. I think he was bitten on the hand, but based on the evidence, it looks like a simple keeper mishap,” said Steve McDaniel, FWC investigator.
The victim will likely recover from the bite.
FWC requested antivenin from the Central Florida Zoo and there’s more on the way from Miami.
“Just to be on the safe side because we don’t know how many vials he’s going to need,” McDaniel said.
McDaniel said a neighbor and someone from their office will check on the rest of the reptiles. The victim has more than 10 snakes in his home.
McDaniel also said the owner is well-known to local herpetologists, and he’s known him personally for 20 years. He said this is the first time he’s ever known of an issue.
Source: http://www.wesh.com/news/winter-park-man-bitten-by-venomous-snake/35470202

OUCH!! With the size of those fangs he’s likely to have some fairly big scars…

Child bitten by copperhead at Birmingham Zoo

Child bitten by copperhead at Birmingham Zoo

By Melynda Schauer
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) –
A child was bitten by a copperhead at the Birmingham Zoo around noon on Thursday, zoo officials confirm.
Emergency personnel responded to the zoo and transported the child to Children’s of Alabama hospital for treatment.
Shortly after the incident, the snake was captured and examined by zoo staff, who identified it as a copperhead. It was a wild snake and not part of the zoo’s animal collection.
Zoo staff are working with the hospital to determine the appropriate treatment for the child, Marketing Coordinator Kiki Nolen-Schmidt said in a release.
“The child has been taken to the hospital and the child’s care is the most important priority at this time,” Marketing Associate Clark Maxwell said.
The zoo will release more information as it become available.
Source: http://www.wbrc.com/story/30108407/child-bitten-by-wild-snake-at-birmingham-zoo

6 Sssecrets of a Snake-Sound Scientissst

6 Sssecrets of a Snake-Sound Scientissst
Bruce Young, Ph.D., of the A.T. Still University of Health Sciences, has dedicated his career to understanding the incredible, bizarre, and sometimes-hilarious world of snake noises. He spilled his ssssecrets to mental_floss in a recent interview.

1. SNAKES GROWL.
Young was still an undergraduate the first time he heard a king cobra growl. He’d gotten a job as “glorified bait” in a venomous snake show in the early 1980s, keeping the snakes distracted while a presenter spoke to the audience. Standing on its tail, the fifteen-foot king cobra was taller than the college sophomore. The snake swayed toward him, mouth open, making a sound, Young says, “like an angry German shepherd.”
Faced with a ticked-off king cobra, most people would lose it, but Young fell in love. He realized that nobody was researching why or even how snakes make noise.

2. THEY SHRIEK.
Young started by trying to understand the basics: how snakes hiss, why they do it, and why all hisses sound pretty much the same. Most snakes make some kind of noise, whether it’s hissing, rattling, or rubbing their scales together to make a dry, raspy sound.
Some snakes make weirder noises than others. Young discovered that, uniquely among snakes, the pine snake (Pituophis melanoleucus) has a vocal cord. As a result, P. melanoleucus’s hisses and bellows have a shriek-like quality.

3. THEY FART IN SELF-DEFENSE.
Snakes are pretty intimidating as it is, and most of their noises serve to make them seem scarier. (That’s what they’re for, after all: to scare off predators.)
But then there’s the farting. Young found that, when cornered, snakes of multiple species produce popping sounds by forcefully pushing air out of vents in their back ends. “It’s basically snake flatulence,” Young says.
Like growling or hissing, the fart noises are intended to be scary. And who knows? For a non-human predator, they might be.

4. HELIUM IS THE GREAT EQUALIZER.
Again and again, Young’s research returned to the growl of the king cobra. How, he wondered, can a snake even make a noise like that? After dissecting a bunch of preserved cobras, Young thought he had an answer.
As any bored bar-goer knows, you can make all kinds of noises by blowing across the top of a beer bottle. Young found a number of little sacs in the trachea of the king cobra. If, he theorized, the snake was pushing air across the openings of these empty sacs, the resonance would make a low rumbling sound.
The pitch of resonant noise depends on the gas being used. Young decided to test his hypothesis by—what else?—dosing a bunch of king cobras with helium.
“I got some large king cobras, put them in a room, got them very agitated, and recorded their growls,” says Young. Once he had a baseline, he gave them helium. The theory held. Helium immediately changed the pitch of the snakes’ voices, and Young was left with “big, writhing, angry king cobras … growling like Mickey Mouse.”

5. SNAKES CAN HEAR JUST FINE.
“The biggest misconception about snakes is that they are deaf,” says Young. At certain frequencies, he says, they can actually hear better than house cats can. Sound waves travel through the muscles and bone in their heads and vibrate against their inner ears.
This doesn’t mean that snakes talk to each other. The noises they make are almost always at a frequency that other snakes can’t hear. Young says the best candidate for a snake-audible, snake-produced noise is the growl of the king cobra, which rumbles at a very low frequency (when Young and his helium tank aren’t around, that is).

6. STAYING SAFE IS EASY—JUST BACK AWAY.
“Almost all of the snake sounds we know of are made in defensive interactions,” says Young.
In other words, if you hear a snake making a noise, “it’s only because you scared it. Leave the poor thing alone.”

Source: http://mentalfloss.com/article/68816/6-sssecrets-snake-sound-scientissst

Queensland motorist startled on Bruce Highway by venomous snake on her windscreen

Queensland motorist startled on Bruce Highway by venomous snake on her windscreen

A Sunshine Coast motorist has revealed how she “screamed” and swerved after a red-bellied black snake appeared on her windscreen as she drove along the Bruce Highway.
Sunshine Coast snake catcher Richie Gilbert, who was called out to find and rescue the snake, filmed the experience and shared it on his Facebook page.
It has since gone viral with hundreds of shares and comments.
In the video, the driver, Tamara, said she was filling up at a service station when she saw the snake near the front of her car.
“I asked the servo if they wanted to do anything but by that time it had its head back the other way and then was gone without a trace. I was fairly certain it was under there,” she said.
“I jumped in and drove. I thought it would let go when it was ready.”
She was on the Bruce Highway when the snake next reared its head.
“I was checking the rear view mirror to see if it was going. I was talking to my boss about what to do and then it just popped its head up on up on the windscreen … had a bit of a look about. I screamed,” she said.
Tamara said it also caused her to swerve.
“I was on the overtaking lane … everyone probably thought I was mad.”
In the video, Mr Gilbert popped the bonnet of the car on the side of the highway and was able to locate the snake, which he removed with his bare hands.
“Besides being hot … he’s fine. He seems perfectly fine,” he said in the video.
Mr Richie said red-bellied black snakes were a “pretty good snake”.
“They’re nice-natured snakes when you’re not annoying them,” he said.
“But not a good idea to have one in your car especially when you’re driving on the highway.”
The snake was eventually released back into the wild.
Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-22/red-bellied-black-snake-startles-driver-on-bruce-highway/6795500

Maybe it was just looking for a quicker way to travel?