World Snake Day
Saturday, July 16th 2016
Today, we want to celebrate snakes! Here at the Essex County Turtle Back Zoo, all our snakes are found in the Reptile House. Angie is our resident Reticulated Python. Before you learn more about her, make sure you know your snake basics!
Fast Facts: SNAKES
- Snakes (suborder Serpentes) are elongated, limbless, flexible reptiles.
- With about 3,458 species known so far, snakes are a successful group of predatory vertebrates. Of these, 375 are venomous. Since 2008, 309 new species of snake have been described.
- Snake size varies to extremes by species. At up to 30 feet long, the reticulated python is the longest snake. At a minuscule 4 inches, the Barbados thread snake is the smallest.
- The green anaconda isn’t the longest snake, but it is the heaviest – they can grow up to 550 pounds!
- There is an incredible diversity of snake species that occupy a wide range of environments in tropical and temperate areas, from deserts and mountain summits to oceans. Snakes are found throughout the world except Antarctica, Iceland, Ireland, Greenland and New Zealand.
- Often observed flicking its tongue, snakes use their forked tongue to smell the air.
- Snakes are ectotherms, meaning they must regulate their body temperature externally by sunning themselves or retreating to cool, shaded areas.
- Snakes eat their prey whole and are able to consume prey three times larger than the diameter of their head because their lower jaw can separate from the upper jaw. To keep prey from escaping, snakes have rear-facing teeth that hold their prey in their mouths.
- Venomous snakes inject their prey with venom, while constrictors squeeze their prey. They do not need to hunt every day. Anacondas and pythons can survive for up to a year without food after feeding.
Did You Know?
A recently discovered fossil snake was 49 feet long, longer than a school bus!
Snake Profile: Reticulated Python Malayopython reticulatus
Oviparous (egg laying), females lay between 15 and 80 eggs per clutch. The female coils around her clutch protecting it from predators. Remarkably the female coiled around the eggs also raising the incubation temperature several degrees above the air temperature through muscular contracting called “shivering”. It is one of the largest snake species known with record a maximum record of 28 feet. More typically large males reach up to 10 feet and females usually reach over 20.
WORLD OCEANS DAY “Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet.”
Join us on Wednesday, June 8th at the zoo from 11am to 2pm in the Touch Tank to learn about the impact each human has on this water supply, helping to preserve and sustain the oceans and animals that inhabit them and helping to keep all waterways healthy for years to come.
The ocean is the heart of our planet. Like your heart pumping blood to every part of your body, the ocean connects people across the Earth, no matter where we live. The ocean regulates the climate, feeds millions of people every year, produces oxygen, is the home to an incredible array of wildlife, provides us with important medicines, and so much more! In order to ensure the health and safety of our communities and future generations, it’s imperative that we take the responsibility to care for the ocean as it cares for us.
Want to learn more? Check out the video below to learn some important facts and figures on our impact on the Earth’s oceans. Celebrate World Oceans Day
Want to do more?
- Take the Better Bag Challenge.
Plastic trash is choking our ocean, and 80% of it comes from land. We can do better!
The challenge: promise not take any disposable plastic bags for a whole year. Take a better bag instead! #BetterBagChallenge
Challenge yourself at: http://www.worldoceansday.org/challenge/
- Learn more about how to be more sustainable with your seafood choices on our Seafood Watch page.
Want to watch more?
- Celebrate World Oceans Day with the Octonauts! The Octonauts are a team of eight adventurers who live in an undersea base and go on undersea adventures to explore, rescue, and protect ocean animals. Find interactive games and where you can watch the show at: http://www.theoctonauts.com/
- We know it’s not Thursday, but we thought a THROWBACK would be fun just the same. Share or revisit your childhood with this Captain Planet episode: The Dead Seas