Category Archives: Posts with Photos

The Deadliest Snakes in the World

And an alarming number are found in Australia!

b-0960-az-13-03-06-20M, originally uploaded by Barbara J H


1) Fierce Snake or Inland Taipan (Oxyuranus microlepidotus ), Australia. The most toxic venom of any snake. Maximum yield recorded (for one bite) is 110mg. That would porbably be enough to kill over 100 people or 250,000 mice. With an LD50 of 0.01 mg/kg, it is about 10 times as venomous as a Mojave rattlesnake and 750 times as venomous as a common cobra. The Fierce Snake is native to the arid regions of central Australia, extending from the southeast part of the Northern Territory, and into west Queensland. The Fierce Snake can also be found north of Lake Eyre and to the west of the split of the Murray River, Darling River and Murrumbidgee River. Fierce Snakes are known to live in holes, and feed on small rodents such as mice and rats. Despite its name, Fierce Snakes are not known to be particularly aggressive, but docile. They will strike if provoked, however, injecting their incomparably toxic venom.No fatalities have been attributed to this species, and all known bites have been to people who keep them in captivity or actively seek them out in the wild.

Eastern Brown Snake, originally uploaded by wollombi.

2) Australian Brown Snake (Pseudonaja textilis ), Australia. One 1/14,000 of an ounce of this vemon is enough to kill a person. The Eastern Brown Snake (Pseudonaja textilis) – sometimes referred to as the Common Eastern Brown Snake is the world’s second most venomous land snake, native to Australia and may also be found on the peninsulas of Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. Eastern Brown Snakes are very fast moving and highly aggressive. When agitated, they will hold their necks high, appearing in a somewhat upright S-shape. The snake will occasionally chase an aggressor and strike at it repeatedly.

Blue Krait
3) Malayan or Blue Krait (Bungarus candidus ), Southeast Asia and Indonesia. 50% of the bites from this snake are fatal even with the use of antivenin treatment.

Kraits are ophiophagous, preying primarily upon other snakes (including venomous varieties) and are cannibalistic, feeding on other kraits. They will also eat small lizards.

All kraits are nocturnal. The snake is more docile during the daylight hours, becoming more aggressive during the night. However, they are rather timid and will often hide their heads within their coiled bodies for protection. When in this posture, they will sometimes whip their tail around as a type of distraction.

Deadly Taipan Snake-04+, originally uploaded by cindytoo.
4) Taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus ), Australia. The venom delivered in a single Taipan bite is enough to kill up to 12,000 guinea pigs. The common taipan is the third-most venomous snake on Earth and arguably the second-largest venomous snake in Australia (the first arguably being the mulga, or king brown, snake, Pseudechis australis). The danger posed by the coastal taipan was brought to Australian public awareness in 1950, when young herpetologist Kevin Budden was fatally bitten in capturing the first specimen available for antivenom research.

Tiger Snake, originally uploaded by Xenedis.
5) Tiger Snake (Notechis scutatus ), Australia.

All Notechis species have a very potent neurotoxic venom, which may cause neurotoxic, hemolytic, coagulopathic, and myolytic reactions; paralysis or death can ensue in as short as 30 minutes, but if it occurs it is usually on the timespan of 6-24 hours after the bite. Notechis has historically been a significant contributor to snakebite envenomation in Australia. Prior to the development of specific antivenom, Tiger Snake bite fatalities probably approached 60-70% in cases of severe bites. Specific antivenoms are available for the treatment of tiger snake bites. Fortunately the snake will generally flee if intruded upon, but will become aggressive if cornered.

Beaked Sea Snake
6) Beaked Sea Snake
(Enhydrina schistosa )

This is a species of sea snake.It is found in the Arabian Sea and Persian Gulf (off Oman), south of the Seychelles and Madagascar, the seas off South Asia (Pakistan, India and Bangladesh), Southeast Asia (Myanmar (formerly Burma), Thailand, Vietnam), and Australia (Northern Territory and Queensland) and New Guinea.

Found in mangrove swamps.

Echis carinatus, originally uploaded by Drew Gardner.
7) Saw Scaled Viper (Echis carinatus ), Middle East Asia.

Echis carinatus is a venomous viper species found in parts of the Middle East and Central Asia, and especially the Indian subcontinent. It is the smallest of the Big Four dangerous snakes of India. Five subspecies are currently recognized, including the typical form described here.

This species is mostly crepuscular and nocturnal, although there have been reports of activity during daylight hours. [2] During they daytime they hide in all kinds of places, such as deep mammal burrows, rock fissures an fallen rotted logs. In sandy environments, they may bury themselves leaving only the head exposed. Often, they are most active after rains or on humid nights.

When alarmed, they put on a distinctive threat display.

They move about mainly sidewinding: a method at which they are considerably proficient and alarmingly quick. They are also capable of other forms of locomotion, but sidewinding seems to be best suited to moving about in their usual sandy habitats. It may also keep them from overheating too quickly, as they leave only two points of contact with the hot surface.

This species is often found climbing in bushes and shrubs, sometimes as much as 2 m above the ground. When it rains, up to 80% of the adult population will climb into bushes and trees. Once, it was observed how some 20 individuals had massed on top of a single cactus or small shrub.

Texas Coral Snake4, originally uploaded by The Horned Jack Lizard.
8 ) Coral Snake (Micrurus fulvius ), North America.

The coral snakes are a large group of elapid snakes that can be divided into two distinct groups, New World coral snakes and Old World coral snakes. There are three genera among New World coral snakes that consist of over 65 recognized species.

Coral snakes vary widely in their behavior, but most are very secretive, fossorial snakes which spend the vast majority of their time buried in the ground or in leaf litter of a rainforest floor, only coming to the surface during rains or during breeding season. Some species, like Micrurus surinamensis are almost entirely aquatic and spend most of their lives in slow moving bodies of water that have dense vegetation.

Like all elapid snakes, coral snakes use a pair of small fangs, which are fixed in the front of their top jaw, to deliver their venom. Due to the time it takes for the venom take effect, coral snakes have a tendency to hold on to a victim when biting, unlike vipers which have retractable fangs and tend to prefer to strike and let go immediately. Coral snakes are not aggressive or prone to biting however, and account for less than a single percent of the number of snake bites each year in the United States. Most coral snake bites occur because of accidental handling of the snake while engaged in an activity like gardening.

Due to the small size of coral snakes, along with their having much smaller fangs than pit vipers, bites are frequently ineffective and have some difficulty penetrating shoes or even thick clothing. This along with the fact that coral snakes are quite shy and reclusive makes bites quite rare. However, coral snakes are highly venomous, being the only relative of the cobra found in the New World. Despite their relatively small size, their venom is a powerful neurotoxin, quite capable of killing an adult human. Any bite from a coral snake should be considered life threatening and immediate treatment should be sought. Often there is very little reaction around the bite area, as opposed to the pain and swelling usually associated with a viper bite, and systemic effects can delay manifestation for 8-24 hours. This potential delay in symptoms makes treating coral snake bites particularly tricky, and often results in preventative treatment whether one is displaying symptoms or not. Once the neurotoxin takes effect, it causes the neurotransmitters between the brain and muscles to malfunction. Initially symptoms are slurred speech, double vision, difficulty swallowing, but can quickly progress to muscular paralysis, and even respiratory or cardiac failure if not treated.

Boomslang, originally uploaded by wapstar.
9) Boomslang (Dispholidus typus ), Africa.

A boomslang, Dispholidus typus is a large, venomous colubrid snake native to sub-Saharan Africa. It is the only species in its genus. Its name means “tree snake” in Afrikaans and Dutch.Boomslangs are largely arboreal, are very fast moving, and are oviparous. Their diet includes chameleons and other arboreal lizards, frogs, and occasionally small mammals, birds and eggs from nesting birds, which they swallow whole.

Most members of the colubrid family are harmless, or have relatively weak venom, but the boomslang is an exception. It has a highly potent venom which it delivers through large, deeply grooved fangs that are (like in most other venomous colubrids) located in the rear of the jaw. This type of venomous apparatus is called opisthoglypha. The boomslang is the most dangerous of the snakes with this method of venom delivery, due to its relatively large fangs and its relatively anterior position of the fangs compared to other opisthoglyphic taxa. The bite of the boomslang can be fatal, and has been reported to be not unlike bites from vipers. In 1957, well known herpetologist, Karl Schmidt died after being bitten by a boomslang. D.S. Chapman states that between 1919 and 1962 there were eight serious human envenomations by boomslangs, two of which were fatal. The South African Vaccine Producers (formerly South African Institute of Medical Research) manufactures a monovalent antivenom for boomslang venom. The venom of the boomslang is primarily a hemotoxin. This means that the venom attacks and destroys the hemoglobin in the red blood cells, destroying the blood in its victim. The venom of a boomslang disables blood clotting process and the victim often dies out of numerous internal and external bleedings. Other symptoms include: headache, nausea, sleepiness and mental disorders. Being a relatively slow-acting venom, the symptoms may occur many hours after the bite. On one hand, this provides time for arranging the serum, while on the other hand it may lead victims to underestimate the bite (especially when, as with other snakes, not every bite injects venom).

An adult snake has 4-8 mg of venom. 5 mg is said to be enough to kill a man.

The boomslang is a timid snake, and bites generally occur only while attempting to handle, catch or kill the snake.

death adder – acanthophis antarcticus, originally uploaded by fraser baz.
10) Death Adder (Acanthopis antarcticus ), Australia and New Guinea.

Death adders are very viper-like in appearance, having triangular shaped heads and small subocular scales. They also have vertical pupils and many small scales on the top of the head. Like vipers, they have short, fat bodies (normally 50 – 90 cm (20 – 36 inches) long). Their fangs are also longer and more mobile than for most other elapids, although still far from the size seen in some of the true vipers. Despite their name and appearance, they are not vipers at all, but elapids (like all Australian venomous snakes). This is a case of convergent evolution.

It normally takes 2 – 3 years to reach adult size. Females are generally slightly larger than the males. They can also be easily distinguished from other Australian snakes because of a short spine protruding from their tails. Most have large bands around their bodies, though the color itself is variable. Colors are usually grey or red, but also include brown, greenish-grey, or yellow.

Death adders inject on average 40 – 100 mg of extremely toxic venom (0.4 – 0.5 mg/kg murine LD50, subcutaneous) with a bite. This makes an untreated death adder bite one of the most dangerous in the world (rated in top 10 in the CSL list).

Death adder venom is highly neurotoxic. It blocks the post-synaptic neuromuscular transmission from the acetylcholine receptor. Unlike other snakes of its type, it does not contain either procoagulants or myolysins, making treatment easier.

A bite from a death adder causes paralysis. While this paralysis is very minor at first, it can cause death from a complete respiratory shutdown in as little as six hours. Symptoms peak in 24 – 48 hours.

Symptoms of envenomation can be reversed through the use of death adder antivenom, or using anticholinesterases, which break the synaptic blockade by making acetylcholine more available to the brain.

Before antivenom was introduced, 50% of death adder bites were fatal. Now, with the antivenom, and due to the slow progression of envenomation symptoms, fatalities from death adder bites are very rare in Australia. In New Guinea, deaths from these snakes are still common.

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TORTOISE!!!!

TORTOISE!!!!, originally uploaded by Two years of travelling.

Giant tortoises are characteristic of certain reptilian tropical island wildlife. They occur (some species are now extinct) in such places as Madagascar, the Seychelles, Mauritius, Réunion, the Galápagos Islands, Sulawesi, Timor, Flores and Java, often reaching enormous size. However, giant tortoises also once lived on the mainland of Asia, as follows from fossil finds in the Siwalik Hills in India.

 

 

Santa Cruz – wild Galapagos tortoise, originally uploaded by Steve Makin.

These animals belong to the most ancient group of reptiles, appearing about 250 million years ago. In the Upper Cretaceous, 70 or 80 million years ago some already became gigantic and about 1 million years ago these reptiles reached the Galápagos Islands. Until 100,000 years ago most of the gigantic species began to disappear for unknown causes and only 250 years ago there were at least 20 species and subspecies in islands of the Indian Ocean and 14 or 15 species in the Galapagos Islands. From those, only one of the species of the Indian Ocean survives and 11 in Galápagos.

 

 

“Hey Baby, Come here oft…?” “Go Away Creep!”, originally uploaded by ARKNTINA.

They are commonly known as the world’s longest living animals, with an average lifespan of 177 years.

 

 

slow love, originally uploaded by KCA.

 

 

140894, originally uploaded by Andre Boffin.

 

 

Open Wide, originally uploaded by Picture Taker 2.

The Enigmatic Echidna…

Tasmania Trip – Day 4 – Echidna on the road, originally uploaded by K&S.

 

The echidna is one of only two surviving monotremes, the other being the platypus. The Australian echidnas belong to the Tachyglossus genus and the three surviving Zaglossus species are found in New Guinea.

 

 

 

 

Echidna, originally uploaded by GeoWombats.

 

As well as finding them wandering across roads and across people’s backyards, you can find them anywhere there are ants and termites and its not too hot.

 

 

Echidna, originally uploaded by Uhlenhorst.

Echidnas breed during the cool of winter. The males line up behind a potential mate and form a train.

Echidna trains can last anywhere up to 6 weeks before mating eventually happens. During this time the echidnas can be seen walking, foraging and just simply resting together.

Echidna trains can have any number from 2-11 echidnas, though 3 to 4 is more usual. The males sometimes move from one train to another.

The males follow the female and sometimes make advances by nudging her tail or side with their nose. When the female signals that she’s ready to mate another colourful display of the echidna’s sexual behaviour begins the mating rut.

 

 

 

echidna_puggle_1, originally uploaded by Julia G.

Monotremes are egg-laying mammals. The female echidna lays a single soft-shelled, leathery egg twenty-two days after mating and deposits it directly into her pouch. Hatching takes ten days; the young echidna, called a puggle, then sucks milk from the pores of the two milk patches (monotremes have no nipples) and remains in the pouch for forty-five to fifty-five days, at which time it starts to develop spines. The mother digs a nursery burrow and deposits the puggle, returning every five days to suckle it until it is weaned at seven months.

 

 

 

Echidna, originally uploaded by badoo_tealeaf.

 

Note the blue beads on this one for identification purposes. Despite being relatively common, the solitary habits of this critter means that we don’t know a lot about it.

 

 

Shuffling In The Undergrowth, originally uploaded by MykReeve.

 

Camels from Oz

People don’t associate camels with typical Aussie wildlife but they are very much part of the Australian outback.

Loneliness of the Long Distance Camel, originally uploaded by aaardvaark.

 

During the last four decades of the 19th century and the first years of the 20th, Afghan cameleers formed the core of every major expedition into Australia’s central desert region and provided transport and communication links with sheep and cattle farms, mining projects and religious missions on the desert fringe. Their camels, which foraged on semi-desert plants and could go for days without water, were faster and cheaper than horse or bullock transport.

 

 

Australian camel, originally uploaded by WindeBabe.

 

 

2003.08.01, originally uploaded by natmeister.

 

As the demand for this transport increased, hundreds of Afghans travelled to Australia on three-year work contracts. Low wages—in the 1880s between £3 and £4 a month or about a quarter of the amount paid to bullock team drivers—ensured that most remained in Australia. Many married and established families. Afghan settlements, later known as Ghantowns, sprang up around shipping ports and outback railheads in South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia.

 

 

Tanami Track – Merciless, originally uploaded by Zwergie.

 

There are now significant populations of wild camels in various parts of Australia. Some are exported back to the Middle East as they are very healthy diverse stock and do well in the camel racing industry. Some end up as roadkill and others as camel burgers.

 

 

Camel – Australia, originally uploaded by Luca Zappa.

Wombat Surprise!

Wombat, originally uploaded by Ben Harris-Roxas.

 

 

Shlumping wombat, originally uploaded by Timmy Toucan.

The wombat lives across the seas,
Among the far Antipodes.
He may exist on nuts and berries,
Or then again, on missionaries;
His distant habitat precludes
Conclusive knowledge of his moods,
But I would not engage the wombat
In any form of mortal combat.

— Ogden Nash

Bundy, originally uploaded by Sandy Fernee.

 

 

Enigmatic Wombat, originally uploaded by Ben Harris-Roxas.

 

 

 

wombat, originally uploaded by Theremina.

Wombats are Australian marsupials; they are short-legged, muscular quadrupeds, approximately one metre (3 feet) in length and with a very short tail. The name wombat comes from the Eora Aboriginal community who were the original inhabitants of the Sydney area. Wombats dig extensive burrow systems with rodent-like front teeth and powerful claws. Although mainly crepuscular and nocturnal, wombats will also venture out to feed on cool or overcast days. They are not as easily seen as many animals, but leave ample evidence of their passage, treating fences as a minor inconvenience to be gone through or under and leaving distinctive cubic scats. Wombats are herbivores, their diet consisting mostly of grasses, sedges, herbs, bark and roots.

Wombats, like all the larger living marsupials, are part of the Diprotodontia. The ancestors of modern wombats evolved sometime between 55 and 26 million years ago (no useful fossil record has yet been found for this period) and about 12 species flourished until well into the ice ages. Among the several diprotodon (giant wombat) species was the largest marsupial to ever live. The earliest human inhabitants of Australia arrived while diprotodons were still common, and are believed to have brought about their extinction through hunting or habitat alteration.

Wombats have an extraordinarily slow metabolism, taking around 14 days to complete digestion, and generally move slowly. When required, however, they can reach up to 40 km/h and maintain that speed for up to 90 seconds.

When attacked, they can summon immense reserves of strength — one defense of a wombat against a predator (such as a Dingo) underground is to crush it against the roof of the tunnel until it stops breathing. Its primary defence is its toughened rear hide with most of the posterior made of cartilage which, combined with its lack of a meaningful tail, presents a difficult-to-bite target to any enemy who follows the wombat into its tunnel. One naturalist commented, that a predator biting into a wombat’s rear would find it “comparable to the business end of a toilet brush”.

There are three species, all around a metre long and weighing between 20 and 35 kg (44 to 77 pounds):

mr wombat, originally uploaded by emmareeves.

 

 

Vombat baby, originally uploaded by Eivind.

Geckos Galore!

Shadow, originally uploaded by konaboy.

 

 

And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming, originally uploaded by konaboy.

 

 

Agent Smith, originally uploaded by don_vandyke.

 

 

Macro gecko eye, originally uploaded by Photo_Freak.

 

 

Nephrurus Wheeleri, originally uploaded by Dean.Bradshaw.

 

Geckos are small to moderately large lizards belonging to the family Gekkonidae which are found in warm climates throughout the world. Geckos are unique among lizards in their vocalizations, making chirping sounds in social interactions with other geckos. Geckos are unusual in other respects as well. Geckos have no eyelids and instead have a transparent membrane which they lick to clean. A few species have the ability to shoot an irritating liquid out of the end of its tail. They are also known to have the ability to change the colour of their skins although they have not mastered it like the chameleons and can only go pale. Many species have specialized toe pads that enable them to climb smooth vertical surfaces and even cross indoor ceilings with ease. These antics are well-known to people who live in warm regions of the world where several species of geckos make their home inside human habitations. These species (for example the House gecko) become part of the indoor menagerie and are seldom really discouraged because they feed on insect pests.

Most geckos are tan to dark grey, subtly patterned, and somewhat rubbery looking. Some species can change color to blend in with their surroundings or with temperature differences. However others can be brightly colored.

Some species are parthenogenic, the females capable of reproducing without copulating with a male. This improves the geckos’ ability to spread to new islands.

The toes of the gecko have attracted a lot of attention, as they adhere to a wide variety of surfaces, without the use of liquids or surface tension. Recent studies of the setae on gecko footpads demonstrates that the attractive forces that hold geckos to surfaces are van der Waals interactions between the finely divided setae and the surfaces themselves. That these kinds of interactions involve no liquids (or no gases) is important; in theory, a boot made of synthetic setae would adhere as easily to the surface of the International Space Station as it would to a living room wall. [Wikipedia]

 

 

8691 Leezard, originally uploaded by jasondunsmore.

 

 

Leaftailed Gecko, originally uploaded by Naomi Lara.

 

 

gecko, originally uploaded by giantkillerrobot.

Gecko, originally uploaded by zoom_eric.

Bearded Dragons

Bearded Dragon on the Prowl, originally uploaded by ricko.

The Odd Couple, originally uploaded by bsmith4815.

 

abner. close up., originally uploaded by jessi..

 

Humph!, originally uploaded by Lisa4414.

 

BIG green tongue, originally uploaded by sansanparrots.

 

bearded dragon, originally uploaded by heavenuphere.

 

Scientific classification:

 

Kingdom: Animalia

Bearded Dragon is the common name for any agamid lizard in the genus Pogona. Bearded dragons have broad triangular heads and flattened bodies, with adults reaching approximately 50 cm head-to-tail. Males are slightly longer than females, but females are slightly heavier. They owe their name to a distinctive series of lateral spines (specialized scales) radiating horizontally from the head and base of the tail. They are mostly terrestrial, but climb to bask and search for prey. They inhabit mostly open woodlands, scrub, and desert.

All species are native to Australia, but have been exported worldwide, and due to their convenient size, hardiness, and omnivorous diet, are popular reptile pets. They are one of the most popular pet lizards in the United States.

Bearded Dragons can puff out the spiny protrusions under their chin beard when they are angry, giving them the appearance of having a humanlike beard. They may bob their heads or wave either of their forearms as communication. A commonly used enclosure size for baby bearded dragons is 10 gallons; adults tend to thrive in enclosures 40 gallons and larger.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bearded_Dragon