Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Different Types of Snakes

There are various kinds of snakes in the world, some poisonous and some non poisonous. Here is a short description of all types of snakes.

Mythologically, the snake is said to be one of the first reptiles on planet Earth. Here is some information on the types of snakes present in the world.Snakes have played a major role in mythology, the common snake is called the 'snake', whereas any mythological snake can be regarded as a 'serpent'. The term serpent comes from Old French, which means 'to creep'.

Though snakes are generally thought to be poisonous, dangerous and basically a threat to mortality, there are various kinds of snakes, some of them non-poisonous.Venomous, or poisonous snakes use their fangs in its mouth to either kill or immobilize its prey. The snake uses venom and modified saliva to achieve this. There are venomous snakes in every family of snakes.Venomous snakes are classified into four families the Elapids, Viperids, Colubrids and Hydrophiidae.

The Elapids are found in the sub tropical and tropical regions around the world. They have a set of fixed hollow fangs which they use to inject the venom in their victim. Their size ranges from eighteen centimeters to upto five to six meters in length. There are two hundred and thirty one
species in this family. Some Elapids are kraits, king cobras, cobras, mambas, Australian copperheads and coral snakes.

All the Elapids are venomous. Their venom is neurotoxic and is more dangerous as compared to viper venoms. The world's most dangerous snake, the black mamba is a member of this family. The most venomous land snake, the fierce snake is also a member of this family. A type of sea snake, the Hydrophis belcheri has the most toxic venom compared to all other snakes.

The Viperidae, commonly called vipers, are found all over the world except Madagascar and Australia. They have relatively long and hinged fangs. These fangs allow the vipers to penetrate deeper into the flesh. There are about four subfamilies of viperidae, the Azemiopinae, Vipernae, Crotalinae and the Causinae. Common viperidae are vipers, rattlesnakes, cottonmouths, bushmasters, adders and copperheads. Viperid venoms have a number of proteases, which are protein degrading enzymes. These proteases have symptoms like necrosis, blood loss, disruption of the blood clotting system and strong local swelling.

The Colubrid is from the Colubridae of the snake family. The colubrid's body is completely covered with scales. They are normally harmless and non-poisonous. However, some snakes of this family like the Boomslang and the African Twig snake have caused human deaths. Their fangs are generally at the back of their mouth.

Some of the snakes found in this family are the Queen snake, the Common Keelback, King Snake, Corn Snake, Bull Snake, Rat Snake, Garter SNake, Smooth Snake, Water Snake Mussurana and Milk Snake. Other snakes are the boomslangs, mangrove snakes, vine snakes and tree snakes.

The Queen snake of this family is non-venomous Queen snakes are not more than sixty centimeters in length.It is either gray, dark brown or olive in color.The Common Keelback is another non-venomous snake. It is found in drains, ponds and drainage systems. It feeds mainly on frogs, small fishes and frogs.

The Hydrophidae, or sea snakes are of several different species. They are aquatic than land dwelling. The group of sea snakes are related to the cobra. They are at the most about some two meters in length. There are about fifty species of these snakes and almost all of them are venomous. They have short and hollow fangs located near the front of the upper jaw.

Their venom is made up of neurotoxins and mytotoxins. The fatal dose of their venom is about 1.5 milligram. Sea snakes however do not bite humans and are harmless unless provoked. Their poison is generally more toxic as compared to venom from land snakes.

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