By Alan Tennant
Offering thorough descriptions of virtually 2 hundred species, this consultant offers millions of evidence and figures to help you establish, comprehend, and savor those vital and memorable animals. each one species and subspecies account comprises the most recent findings on abundance, measurement, reproductive conduct, prey, habitat, habit and venomous/nonvenomous prestige.
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Extra resources for Snakes of North America: Eastern and Central Regions
While a rattler's toxins are much more destructive here, even a large amount of venom this far below the surface may produce few external symp toms because such areas are poorly supplied with nerve endings. (In subcutaneous tis sues great pain, swelling, and discoloration accompany venom poisoning, but with deeper envenomations the toxins' proteolytic enzymes may be temporarily encapsu lated within the underlying layers of muscle, and give few symptomatic indications of how severe the bite actually is.
When traction is poor, the lateral loops of all snakes become pro portionately larger as the serpent extends more and more of its belly length into the sideways search for something to press backward against. Extreme cases, on loose sand, call for " sidewinding. " Here, the only way to move in any direction is by extending the foremost body loop (which includes the neck ) well to the side and digging it in to scoop up a little ridge of sand to pull inward against. Anchored by this granular berm wedged up by its neck, a series of posterior body loops then reach out to scoop up their own tiny ridges of sand to pull themselves toward; as m u sc u l a r contractions sweep down the sidewinder's trunk its body is drawn sideways across these notched 12The blind, burrowing Typhlopidae have 1 80 vertebrae, while the more advanced col ubrids have as many as 435.
Having learned to get around without the traditional vertebrate's stiff skeletal platform, then, serpents became mobile creatures with rope-like suppleness possessed by no other land animal. This gave them the unique predatory advantage: being able to strike. ( Being able to reach out to suddenly snatch a food animal had long been an optimal hunting technique: very early, frogs, toads, and then a few lizards evolved projectable, j ack-in-the-box tongues to snatch prey from a distance. But to catch anything larger than an insect, they still had to j ump on it.
Snakes of North America: Eastern and Central Regions by Alan Tennant