Blue Snake Running


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Snakes are reptiles, which means they are ectothermic: they get their body heat from external sources. Endothermic animals, such as mammals and birds, regulate their body temperature internally. A snake's body temperature - and so its level of activity - is controlled by the temperature of the air and the ground. It will try to maximise body heat by basking in the sun or lying on or near warm surfaces such as night-time roads or even, on occasion, household water heaters.

In cold areas of the state snakes hibernate during winter. However, in the more temperate climate along the coast they shelter in rock crevices and logs during cold weather and come out on warm days to soak up the heat of the sun. During cold weather snakes are less active and therefore hunt less. In the winter their metabolisms slow down, and they use up body fat which has been stored up during the warmer months of the year. Catching and feeding is a very specialised activity.

Most venomous snakes grab their prey by striking suddenly and biting while they inject venom into the victim. Some species will often strike three or four times.

First up, the venomous snakes

The toxins produced by the venomous snakes act to paralyse the victim, so that it dies or is unable to move before the snake tries to eat it. These toxins also assist the snake's digestive processes, beginning by breaking down the victim's blood and other tissues. Pythons have no venom and use their strong bodies to immobilise their victims. Having first grabbed the prey with its mouth, a python wraps its body coils tightly around the victim.

As the coils are progressively tightened, the prey is suffocated. Other snakes grab their prey in their mouth and start swallowing immediately so the animal is eaten alive. The teeth in these snakes are arranged to resist escape of an animal once grabbed in the mouth. Sometimes both venom and constriction are used to kill and hold the prey. A snake can dislocate its upper and lower jaws and separate the two sections of its lower jaw.

This allows it to move each jaw independently, and to spread open its head and throat to swallow prey much larger than the usual diameter of its mouth. Digestion takes place in the stomach, with the aid of very strong digestive juices.

Florida Snakes Visual Identification

Unlike endothermic animals, a snake's food digestion rate is influenced by external temperatures. Some deposit them in warm, rotting vegetation to incubate the eggs for weeks. Pythons 'incubate' and protect their eggs by coiling their bodies around the eggs, almost continuously until they hatch. They can control temperature to a certain degree by shivering. Young snakes fend for themselves from birth. Depending on the species, each parent snake may produce between 10 and young in one breeding season. Many young are lost to predators such as birds, lizards and other snakes. Snakes play an important role in many different types of ecosystems.

However, their numbers are generally declining. A number of snake species have been listed as threatened in NSW. All native birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals, but not including dingoes, are protected in NSW by the Biodiversity Conservation Act If you are happy for us to follow up on your feedback, please provide your name and email. The information you provide in this form will only be used for the purpose for which it was collected.

By submitting, you consent to storage, use, and disclosure of your personal information in accordance with our privacy policy. In this section Native animal facts Australian brush turkey. Australian magpie. Bottlenose dolphin. Brush-tailed possum. Flying-foxes expand Flying foxes. Cocos palms: a threat to flying-foxes. Why the grey-headed flying-fox is listed as threatened. Living with flying-foxes. National Flying-fox Monitoring Program. Freshwater mussels expand Freshwater mussels.

Identifying mussels. Freshwater turtles.


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Frogs expand Frogs. Bell frogs. Threats to frogs expand. Frog Chytrid fungus. Gliding possums. Kangaroos and wallabies. Koala expand Koala.

Koala habitat. Help save koalas. Koala conservation. Laughing kookaburra. Little penguin expand Little penguin. Manly's little penguins expand. Where can I see them?

These 17 snakes can be found in Michigan

What's being done to help them? How can I help? How can I help a sick or injured little penguin? Lord Howe woodhen.

Parrots expand Parrots. Glossy black-cockatoo. The danger of feeding lorikeets. Check them out below, thanks to the Michigan DNR. Black Rat Snake Elaphe obsoleta obsoleta Description: A large shiny black snake with a white chin and throat. Young rat snakes are patterned with dark blotches on a gray background, and traces of this juvenile coloration are often visible in adult specimens. This is Michigan's largest snake.

Adult length: 3. They are listed as a "species of special concern" by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and are protected by state law. Blue Racer Coluber constrictor foxi Description: A large gray or blue snake with smooth scales. The head is usually darker than the body, though the chin and throat are white.

The belly is light blue or white. Young racers are grayish, with a pattern of darker blotches and spots. Adult length: 4 to 6 feet. Range and Status: Racers have been found through most of the Lower Peninsula except the northernmost sections and the southern tip of the Upper Peninsula. Once common, their numbers have fallen in many places.

Needless persecution by humans as well as habitat loss are probable factors in this decline.

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Brown Snake Storeria dekayi Description: A small brown or gray snake with a light stripe down the back bordered by black dots. These dots may join to form crossbars. The belly is white, cream, or pinkish in color. Adult length: 9 to 15 inches. Range and Status: Found throughout the Lower Peninsula and the southern tip of the Upper Peninsula, brown snakes can be common even in farming and residential areas.

Butler's Garter Snake Thamnophis butleri Description: A small black, brown, or olive snake with three distinct yellow stripes down the back and a yellowish belly. Some specimens have dark spots between the stripes. The dark head is very small. Adult length: 15 to 27 inches.

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Range and Status: This species is locally common in the eastern and southern Lower Peninsula. Eastern Garter Snake Thamnophis sirtalis Description: A medium sized striped snake with variable coloration. Most are gray, brown, or greenish with three yellowish stripes down the back, and there may be black spots between the stripes, making the snake look "checkered".

The belly is pale white, green, or yellow. The tongue is red with a black tip. Adult length: 2 to 4 feet. Range and Status: This species is the most common Michigan snake. They inhabit both peninsulas and survive even in urban areas.

Northern Ribbon Snake Thamnophis sauritus septentrionalis Description: A very slender black or brown snake with three bright yellow or white stripes down the back. The head is black, though the scales above and below the mouth are white. The belly is white or light yellow. Adult length: 18 to 38 inches.

Range and Status: The snake can be found throughout the Lower Peninsula, and is locally common where suitable wetland habitat exists. Its population is so low that it is listed as an "endangered" species in Michigan. It has also recently been listed by the U. Fish and Wildlife Service as a nationally "threatened" species. Habitat for the copper-bellied water snake has declined dramatically.

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Wetlands drainage and development in preferred habitat has limited distribution to only a few small populations. It has been found only in the southern third of the Lower Peninsula. Indiscriminate killing of snakes has also been a problem in local areas. Eastern Hognose Snake Heterodon platirhinos Description: A thick-bodied, slow-moving snake with a flattened, upturned "nose. Easily identified by defensive behavior see below.

Adult length: 20 to 40 inches. Their numbers have declined in many places, in part due to persecution by humans who mistakenly believe they are dangerous. Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake Sistrurus catenatus catenatus Michigan's only venomous snake is a rare sight for most state residents. Historically, they could be found in a variety of wetlands and nearby upland woods throughout the lower peninsula. During the late spring, these snakes move from their winter hibernation sites, such as crayfish chimneys and other small mammal burrows in swamps and marshlands, to hunt on the drier upland sites - likely in search of mice and voles, their favorite food.

Massasaugas are found throughout the Lower Peninsula, but not in the Upper Peninsula thus there are no venomous snakes on the Upper Peninsula mainland. They are becoming rare in many parts of their former range, throughout the Great Lakes area, due to wetland habitat loss and persecution by humans. Eastern Milk Snake Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum Description: This is a slender, smooth scaled snake with reddish or brown blotches on a gray or tan background color.

There is usually a light "Y" or "V" shaped marking just behind the head. The belly is white with a black checkerboard pattern. Fox Snake Elaphe vulpina and Elaphe gloydi Description: A large yellowish or light brown snake with dark brown or black blotches down the back and sides.

The head may be reddish or orange, and the belly is yellowish, checkered with black. Two species of the fox snake occur in Michigan see below but their ranges do not overlap. Adult length: 3 to 5 feet. Range and Status: The western fox snake is found in the Upper Peninsula, where it is often called a "pine snake. Their numbers have been reduced by habitat destruction and, locally, by pet trade exploitation.

Kirtland's Snake Clonophis kirtlandii Description: A small reddish brown snake with four rows of black often indistinct blotches down its back, and a black head. The belly is pink or red with a row of black dots along each side.

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