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Old January 29th, 2009 #61
Mike Parker
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Man bites cobra to teach it a lesson

March 30, 2008 posted by indiatime

A man from the state of West Bengal turned the tables on a poisonous cobra, and the cobra never even saw it coming.

Subhas Banerjee, a canteen worker at a police station, was returning home from work. Near his Ekra village, he found a few villagers discussing about spotting cobra nearby. Banerjee who was intoxicated (no, they do not serve alcohol in the police station canteen) took it upon himself to check the cobra out.

When he saw the cobra, he first hit it with a stick. He then went on to bite the live cobra to death. And then he went on to utter some words of wisdom that would put fear of Shiva into the hearts of any cobras nearby :-

“..The snake should also know how it feels to be bitten..”

And then, Subhas Banerjee fell down to the ground, unconscious. The cobra on one side, Subhas Banerjee on the other, the stick separating the two vicious species with biting egos. But Subhas was soon taken to a nearby hospital and survived the cobra bite (him biting the cobra).

http://www.indiatime.com/2008/03/30/...each-a-lesson/
 
Old March 2nd, 2009 #62
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Baby and Cobra

 
Old April 17th, 2009 #63
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Man bites python



Wed Apr 15, 2009 2:59pm EDT NAIROBI (Reuters) - A Kenyan man bit a python who wrapped him in its coils and hauled him up a tree in a struggle that lasted hours, local media said Wednesday.

Farm manager Ben Nyaumbe was working at the weekend when the serpent, apparently hunting for livestock, struck in the Malindi area of Kenya's Indian Ocean coast.

"I stepped on a spongy thing on the ground and suddenly my leg was entangled with the body of a huge python," he told the Daily Nation newspaper.

When the snake coiled itself round his upper body, Nyaumbe resorted to desperate measures: "I had to bite it."

The python dragged him up a tree, but when it eased its grip, Nyaumbe said he was able to take a mobile phone out of his pocket and phone for help.

When his supervisor came with a policeman, Nyaumbe smothered the snake's head with his shirt, while the rescuers tied it with a rope and pulled.

"We both came down, landing with a thud," said Nyaumbe, who survived with damaged lips and bruising.

The snake escaped from the three sacks it was bundled into.

(Writing by Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Jack Kimball)

http://www.reuters.com/article/newsO...53E3D020090415
 
Old May 3rd, 2009 #64
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Collar apparatus enabling secure handling of a snake by tether
US Patent No. 6,490,999
Issued December 10, 2002

This invention is one of the all-time greats in the Obscure Patent category, and is back by popular demand (or at least the request of a longtime IPWatchdog.com reader). As in practically all patents, there are multiple claims. The first claim and those depending from the first claim relate to the collar apparatus that allows for controlling the snake. While that is funny enough, no doubt, the real knee slapping humor associated with this invention comes when you read that claim 11 covers a system for walking a snake! (See picture above). In order to keep this appropriate for family fun I will allow you, the reader, to insert your own joke here. Now, with that laugh over, what in the world was the inventor thinking?

As it turns out the Background of the Invention supplies the answer to the burning question about what the inventor was thinking. You see, most snake owners do not spend much time handling their snakes for fear of the snake getting lose and running, or slithering as the case may be, away. Apparently sunlight is good for snakes, so there is a real dilemma presented to the snake owner. Enter this collar, which allows for the snake owner to walk the pet. The patent explains that it is difficult if not impossible to create such an invention because snakes change size due to food intake and skin conditions.

http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2009/05/02...snake/id=3038/
 
Old May 3rd, 2009 #65
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Deadly snake caught before slipping onto plane



One of the world’s most poisonous snakes was discovered in a haul of 35 animals being smuggled onto a Sydney-bound flight.

Australian wildlife authorities found a Pilbara death adder when they seized the animals at Perth airport in Western Australia on Saturday.

The haul, worth up to $AU40,000 on the black market, also included 11 Banded knob-tailed geckos, 2 Rock dragon lizards, a blue-tongue lizard and a Pgymy python.

A New South Wales man has been charged with attempting to export protected fauna without a licence and the unlawful possession of protected fauna.

All of the reptiles found are native to the state of Western Australia, with most found only in the Outback regions of the Pilbara and Kimberleys.

WA Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) senior investigator, Rick Dawson said the Pilbara death adder was a widely sought-after species and worth about $AU2000 to animal traffickers.

“Two-thirds of the reptiles in Australia are found in Western Australia, where the dry, hot landscape lends itself well to these creatures,” Dawson told The Times.

“Reptile thieves are often seen patrolling the outskirts of the Pilbara, where members of the public will spot them acting suspiciously and notify us.”

Mr Dawson said Australian reptiles were big business on black markets in Europe, the United States and Japan.

In 2003, a British wildlife film producer and conservationist Michael Linley pleaded guilty to trying to smuggle 187 frogs and reptiles out of Australia.

Mr Linley, who produced the television series Survival and has written several books on amphibians, was arrested at Perth airport after customs officials found 217 animals of 27 different species, worth US$178,000, in his suitcases.

Mr Linley told Perth Magistrates Court he wanted to use the animals in one of his films. He was fined $AU30,000.

Earlier this month Qantas was forced to ground one of its fleet while wildlife experts tried to hunt down four snakes on a plane.

Twelve baby Stimpson’s pythons had been put on board a flight from Alice Springs to Melbourne, but when the box of reptiles was unloaded at the other end only eight snakes were found inside.

A reptile expert searched for the 6-inch snakes, which can grow up to a metre-long, but could not find them. It was still unknown if the snakes were on the plane or if they had somehow escaped disembarked once the plane landed.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...cle6203230.ece
 
Old May 3rd, 2009 #66
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DSE seizes illegal corn snakes from home of Sunbury man

April 29, 2009 01:48pm

TWO illegal corn snakes have been seized from the home of a Sunbury man.
The 23-year-old Sunbury man has a licence to keep reptiles, but it is illegal to keep, breed or trade corn snakes.

Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) officers executed a search warrant on the man's home last night after a tip-off and found a male and a female snake.

DSE senior investigator Keith Larner said the man was expected to be charged on summons.

He faces fines of up to $24,000.

"While we haven't ascertained that any breeding has gone on here, it's always our worst fear when we find exotic snakes," Mr Larner said.

"Corn snakes are prolific breeders and they pose a real threat to our native snake populations, both through disease and competition for prey if they are released into the wild."

The man found keeping the snakes had "every reason" to fear losing his reptile licence.

"Keeping native reptiles is a privilege, not a right."

DSE has seized about 80 corn snakes over the past eight years, and it is believed there are many more being held illegally.

Corn snakes are native to the corn fields of North America.
 
Old June 14th, 2009 #67
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Guns, not charm, expel snakes from police station

FREETOWN (Reuters) - Power hoses and AK-47 assault rifles have succeeded where Sierra Leone's snake-charmers failed by removing 400 cobras and vipers that overran a police station.

Authorities in the southern district of Bo called in police, army and fire fighters after the snakes scared away police officers and residents reporting crimes.

"We have forced water into the building and some of the snakes trying to escape were shot by our men carrying AK-47s," said Brima Kontu, head of the police station in Gerihun.

About 250 of the estimated 400 snakes who had made the station their home have been killed.

"Hopefully the combined force will be able to free the house from the snakes by next Tuesday," Kontu told Reuters.

Sierra Leone is slowly recovering from the effects of the 1991-2002 civil war and villagers frequently have run-ins with wild animals in areas of the country that were deserted during the years of fighting.

http://www.reuters.com/article/oddly...55C2BX20090613
 
Old July 20th, 2009 #68
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Default Prehistoric 2,500 lb snake could eat a cow



A handout photo released by Nature magazine shows a Precloacal vertebra of an adult Green Anaconda (Eunectes murinus),lighter colored vertebra dwarfed by a vertebra of the giant boid snake they named Titanoboa cerrejonensis, meaning ``titanic boa from Cerrejon,'' the region where it was found. Fossils from northeastern Colombia reveal the biggest snake ever discovered: a behemoth that stretched 42 feet or longer, reaching an estimated 1.27 tons.




http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/0..._n_163943.html
 
Old August 9th, 2009 #69
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Default Gang use snakes in street attack

Quote:
A gang brandishing snakes as 'weapons' attacked a 14-year-old boy with a python, forcing the reptile to bite the teenager's hand.

Paramedics who attended the scene in Bradley Stoke, South Gloucestershire, were left baffled by the injury and called Bristol Zoo for advice.

The boy was pinned against a wall by the gang on Saturday afternoon, before one forced the python to attack.

The teenager was taken to Frenchay Hospital for checks.

'Puncture wounds'


Police and the RSPCA are now investigating the incident, which took place shortly before 1500 BST .

A spokesman for Great Western Ambulance service (GWAS) said: "Ambulance staff consulted Google and Bristol Zoo experts after a teenager was attacked by a group of youths brandishing snakes.

"The group was apparently carrying several snakes and forced one of them to bite the boy on the hand, leaving two puncture wounds."

Pythons are ambush predators which rely on crushing their prey, and are not venomous.

GWAS incident support officer Michael Howells, who was at the scene, said: "Although the patient was suffering breathing difficulties after the attack, this was probably due to panic rather than a reaction to the bite - I would probably be panicky if that happened to me."
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/bristol/8192209.stm
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Old August 10th, 2009 #70
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Default Tabby cat swallowed by pet python

Quote:
Sunday, 09 August 2009

An owner has told how his pet cat was "crushed, asphyxiated and consumed whole" by a neighbour's 13ft python.

Wilbur, a four-year-old tabby, was devoured after straying into a nearby garden in Brislington, Bristol, where the Burmese python was lurking.

The cat's owners, Martin and Helen Wadey, heard "blood-chilling cries" and rushed to the neighbouring property to help. But after getting no reply from the house they were powerless to save Wilbur.
http://news.uk.msn.com/odd-news/arti...ntid=149092233
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Old August 30th, 2009 #71
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August 25, 2009

From Citizen to Serf in 200 Years

By Paul Craig Roberts

America is a strange place. Liberals get emotionally distraught that the Founding Fathers stuck Second Amendment rights in the Constitution. For American citizens to possess firearms is considered to be dangerous. Yet it is quite alright for Americans to possess deadly green mambas.

Mambas are large, fast, and very poisonous African snakes whose bite is usually fatal. Their venom is neurotoxic and cardiotoxic. It attacks the central nervous system and shuts down the lungs and heart.

On August 20 a Comcast workman was installing an underground cable outside an apartment building in Hollywood, Florida, when he was bitten by a green mamba.

Captain Ernie Jillson, head of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue’s Venom Response Unit, said the green mamba probably only delivered a warning bite instead of a lethal one. The Comcast worker was saved by antivenin.

It is unclear how the dangerous snake, which is still on the loose, was identified. How many Americans could identify a green mamba? Perhaps the cable company worker was an immigrant from Africa able to recognize the snake.

No one knows where the snake came from. According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, [Dangerous green mamba snake still on the loose in Hollywood, August 21, 2009] 187 green mambas have been imported into the US as pets since 2004. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission says that all people licensed to own or sell green mambas in the area have their snakes accounted for.

Americans who tire of their pet pythons when they grow too large have been dumping the snakes in the Everglades, where a large breeding population now exists that is destroying the remaining ecology of the Everglades not already destroyed by real estate developers and sugar plantations.

Will green mambas be the next immigrant invader?

Try to imagine what it is like living in a house with a mamba. Are bedroom doors tightly shut at night and carefully opened in the mornings? Do you first check to make sure the snake is still in its container before moving around the house in the morning? Imagine coming home and finding the container empty.

Strikes me as far more stress than living with a handgun in the house.

I would put the stress level from a mamba right up there with the stress our politicians create for us. We never know when "our" government will next strike at our livelihood and liberty.

The White House Office of Management and Budget just announced that the federal government will be running trillion dollar annual budget deficits for the next decade. If the past is a guide, this is an underestimate.

Obama says he is going to attack the deficit by getting entitlement spending under control. He means Social Security and Medicare. Getting them “under control” means reducing the funding. Americans have paid taxes all their lives for retirement pensions and health care, but Obama is going to cut the promised benefits in order to fund his wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan and to pay for new US military bases in Colombia, South America.

We are now into the third presidential term in which the US government remains mired in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Inheriting two wars didn’t stop Obama from starting a third one in Pakistan and from threatening more wars.
These wars bring no benefits to American citizens, only high costs, but the wars bring political contributions to the politicians from the interest groups that profit from the wars.

Where is the World War I, World War II, and Korean War excess-profits tax? The answer is that instead of paying the US Treasury, the war profiteers pay the politicians.

Obama’s Budget Director, Peter Orszag, says the US is in a "dire fiscal situation" and requires "serious steps to put our nation back on a sustainable fiscal path." However, halting pointless wars is not part of the Obama administration’s solution. The wars will continue. Orszag says the US will be put on "a fiscally sustainable path" by "slowing the rate of health care cost growth in the long run."

Orszag says that health care reform will not only be deficit neutral--that is, provide no new services--but also "will incorporate changes that will help reduce the deficit." The budget is to be balanced on the backs of Americans denied health care. And you thought your private health insurer was evil.

Many thanks to Orszag for a clear statement of US government priorities.

In the face of such clarity, why are democratic groups associated with Obama pushing a "health care reform" that will reduce health care?

The attitude of government toward taxpayers is no different at the state and local levels. Some conservatives still suffer from the delusion that government is more accountable the closer it is to the people.

Recently, NPR reported that it was the Correctional Officers Union that was behind California’s "three-strikes" law. Once that unjust law passed, California’s prison population increased five-fold. The Correctional Officers Union grew dramatically in membership. Of the $10 billion annual cost of California’s prison system, 70% goes for salaries and administration. One in ten correctional officers makes $100,000 a year.

What was sold to a gullible public as an "anti-crime" measure was just another way for an organized interest group to pick the taxpayers’ pockets.

Even the "clunkers law" divided the spoils between two interest groups. Car dealers got taxpayers’ help in reducing their unaffordable inventories, and parts manufacturers saved their business by having "clunkers" limited to vehicles made in 1984 or afterwards. Older cars did not qualify for the trade-in subsidy, which was hyped as a way of getting fuel-inefficient and polluting vehicles out of service.

All you need to know about "governments close to the people" can be learned by examining the property tax response to falling real estate values, foreclosures, and homelessness. Jurisdictions everywhere are raising the property tax.

In America, government always comes first. The citizen last. The transformation from citizen to serf has been completed.

Paul Craig Roberts [email him] was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan’s first term. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He was awarded the Legion of Honor by French President Francois Mitterrand. He is the author of Supply-Side Revolution : An Insider's Account of Policymaking in Washington; Alienation and the Soviet Economy and Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy, and is the co-author with Lawrence M. Stratton of The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice. Click here for Peter Brimelow’s Forbes Magazine interview with Roberts about the recent epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.

http://www.vdare.com/roberts/090825_serf.htm
 
Old August 30th, 2009 #72
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"One in ten correctional officers makes $100,000 a year."

The other nine make $200,000.
 
Old August 31st, 2009 #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Ronsavelle View Post
"One in ten correctional officers makes $100,000 a year."

The other nine make $200,000.
RANDOM FACTS ARE FUN!!!
 
Old September 4th, 2009 #74
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Default Stalker snake bites man on nose


Jeff Hosie arms himself in anticipation of the snake's return.

Quote:
* Man says snake is stalking him
* Says snake crawled into his bed and bit him
* Attacks man's son following night

A MAN has told of how a snake is stalking his Territory home after it slid into his bed and bit him on the face while he slept.

Jeff Hosie got the fright of his life when he woke to a snake latched on to his nose, the Northern Territory News reports.

And he says the snake returned the next night - only this time it crawled into bed with his 16-year-old son Nathan and bit him on the back of his leg.

"He's a rogue snake - he's got us twice now," he said.

"He's like a stalker snake.

"I can't believe it is just crawling into our beds. They normally stay away."

The snake drama began early Tuesday morning when Mr Hosie, 41, woke in excruciating pain in his bed at the no-wall humpy-style tin shed he calls his home in Howard Springs about 4.50am.

"It was pretty freaky - I just woke up and felt pain so went to swipe my nose and there was a snake hanging off it," he said.

"It sunk its fangs in real good."

NT snake wrangler Chris Peberdy said the slithery culprit is likely to be a non-venomous slatey- grey species.

"The slatey-greys are a naturally aggressive snake and are common in Darwin's rural area," he said. "Thankfully they are not venomous but they do have a lot of fight in them and will strike as a defence mechanism."

He urged people to just call the snake catcher hotline - 1800 453 210 - if they find a snake on their property rather than risk being bitten while interfering with it.
http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574...-13762,00.html
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Old October 17th, 2009 #75
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Snake Stories...


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/e...re/8197184.stm
british bsing about kingsnake

http://www.gadsdentimes.com/article/...ward-migration
http://www.gainesville.com/article/2...rs-with-snakes
invasive species
http://www.justnews.com/news/20630645/detail.html
more on pythons in florida
http://www.examiner.com/x-2245-Dalla...an-in-the-wild
green mambas crawling around florida
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/bro...,7788608.story
http://www.examiner.com/x-5328-Chica...akes-reproduce
massasauga eastern illinois

Jews hate nature because they have not yet been able to come up with a profitable way of calling plants and animals anti-semitic.

new rattlesnake found
http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v5/ne....php?id=434624

Little hint, pilgrims. 99% of the species that ever existed are extinct. no species is "vital" to the ecosystem. it will go on ecosysting no matter the mix of fauna prancing about its cuticle.

retarded mexican tv writer
http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/dpp/new...ke_bite_080409

typical kwan attitude: anything i dont like ought to be illegal
http://www.boiseweekly.com/Cobweb/ar...downtown-boise

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...ryId=111823116
 
Old October 17th, 2009 #76
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[Cuts from the snake-story links posted above...commentary to follow.]

But his current project involves creatures much larger than he caught as a child in the 1950s — Burmese pythons, which can grow to more than 20 feet long and which have infested the Florida Everglades, 100,000 strong by some estimations.

“And they are heading north,” Gibbons said recently from his Savannah River lab in Aiken, S.C. “How much further north, no one knows, but it’s something we are trying to find out by seeing how they survive the winter this far north.”

Some scientists speculate that most of the pythons infesting the Everglades are the progeny of pets that escaped en masse when Hurricane Andrew damaged or destroyed more than 125,000 homes in 1992. But just how adaptable the snakes are as they spread farther north is the subject of the study being conducted jointly at Gibbons’ lab by the University of Florida, Davidson College and the National Park Service.

Some models, based on the python’s range in its native Asian habitat, project that the snakes could move up various waterways into most of the Southern states to the Smoky Mountains and even as far west as California.

But Frank Struss, director of facilities engineering at the University of Alabama and an amateur herpetologist who has owned exotic snakes, said he can already tell Gibbons and others working on the project what will happen over the winter.

“Without some protective place to go for warmth, like under a house, they will die,” he said. “I’ve had that happen to me. In the winter I put heating pads in my snake enclosures, and one winter one of them failed, and a pretty good-sized ball python I had died of pneumonia.”

__________________


Snakes are everywhere and worthy of respect, aficionados say



Snakes are everywhere in Florida. They are in college students' dorm rooms. They are invading parks and possibly threatening the Everglades ecosystem.

In recent weeks, snakes have slithered onto the agendas of Sen. Bill Nelson and Gov. Charlie Crist.

"There are probably snakes in your yard," said Jim Weimer, a park biologist at Paynes Prairie. "You'll never see them, but they are there."

Nelson introduced a bill last month that would ban the import of Burmese pythons after a Sumter County toddler was strangled by one in early July.

In January 2008, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission established new rules for people who own or exhibit wildlife. The new law requires anyone who wants to buy one of six reptiles, including Burmese pythons, to pay a $100 yearly fee and have a microchip implanted in the animal for tracking.

Estimates of the number of Burmese pythons living in the Everglades range from 30,000 to 150,000. Confirmation that the non-native snakes - former pets that either escaped from or were released by their owners - were reproducing in the wild was first made in 2006.

A study released by the U.S. Geological Survey in 2008 warned that climate factors alone could accommodate Burmese pythons. Another study released that same year by researchers from the University of Florida and Davidson College warned that pythons already had migrated as far as Key Largo.

And yet, many of those who know the most about snakes say the recent negative attention is largely making a mountain out of a relative molehill.

"There are no wild populations this far north, and there never will be," said Shawn Heflick, president of the Central Florida Herpetological Society in Winter Park. "It's too cold up here."

Heflick, a biologist from Palm Bay, was one of seven people the FWC granted an official permit in July to hunt Burmese pythons in the Everglades. He has captured two pythons since receiving his permit, which expires Oct. 31.

_________________________


It's been over a month since the state-sponsored python hunt kicked off, but only a handful of the reptiles have been caught. Local 10 went along to find out firsthand what hunters face in their search for the invasive reptile.

Hunter Josh Zarmati showed Local 10’s Jonathan Vigliotti how he hunts in the Francis S. Taylor Wildlife Management Area. The two ventured into the Everglades on Wednesday night.

"I do this because I love the Everglades and I hate to see them destroyed, whether it be by liter or invasive species," Zarmati told Vigliotti as they off-roaded in a pickup truck.

Video

Zarmati grew up near the Everglades. He said in the past two decades he witnessed the python population grow from zero to an estimated 150,000.

"They don't belong here. The Burmese is eating anything it can get its mouth on: alligators, rabbits, foxes, you name it. They are throwing off the balance here."

About 10 miles into the drive, Zarmati pulled off the side of a road to search a tree.

"I've seen pythons around here before," Zarmati explained.

A 10-minute search produced nothing. The journey continued.

It's believed pet owners introduced the python to the Everglades by dumping the snake there when they grew too big.

On July 15, Gov. Charlie Crist and Florida Fish and Wildlife announced the first-ever state-sponsored python hunt, an effort to eradicate the invasive species from the Everglades.

Zarmati is one of only 13 licensed hunters permitted to do this on a volunteer basis. The results have been mediocre at best. Only 14 snakes have been caught since the hunt began. Of those, Zarmati said he caught six.

_______________________

According to reptile experts, Burmese pythons rarely attack humans, and the occasional attacks that do occur in the United States are typically carried out by pets, not wild pythons. The Humane Society of the United States reports that least a dozen people, including five children, have been killed in the United States by pet pythons since 1980.

On July 1, a pet Burmese python in Florida broke out of a glass cage and strangled to death a toddler sleeping in her crib. In 2008, a Virginia Beach, Va., woman was killed by a 13-foot-long reticulated python while she was trying to give it medicine. A year earlier, a 19-year-old man from the Bronx died when his 13-foot python attacked him. His body was found in the hallway of his apartment building, and a live chicken, still in a box, was found nearby. Apparently the man was preparing to feed the snake, and authorities suspect the python mistook him for food. In 2001, a pet Burmese python killed an 8-year-old girl in Allegheny County, Penn.

In 1993, an 11-foot pet python killed a 15-year-old boy in his bed in Commerce City, Colorado. The snake, which weighed less than the boy, bit him on the right foot and then apparently suffocated him. That same year, a man died in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana after a fight with his pet, a 16-foot python named Ebanezer. The man was not strangled and may have died of a heart attack. He had snake bites on his arm and the snake suffered several knife wounds. In November 1980, an escaped 8-foot pet python bit and then smothered an infant girl in her crib in Dallas, Texas.

And there have been some near misses. In 2008, a man in Las Vegas killed his family’s 15-foot long Burmese python when the snake attacked his 13-year-old daughter. The man cut the snake’s head off after it bit his daughter’s leg and then coiled around her and her uncle, who was also working to free her. The pet usually lived in a locked tank, but somehow escaped and found the daughter’s room.

Though it hasn’t happened in the U.S., an attack on a human in the wild is not impossible, according to officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. If a python were cornered, fearful and defensive, it might try to attack. However, most snakes will try to slither away from trouble rather than stay and fight.

In general, pythons in the wild like to keep to themselves. They are easily camouflaged in their swampy Florida environment, which lets them to hide and then ambush their prey. They bite their dinner to hold it in place and then wrap around it to constrict and kill it.

Everglades pythons eat most anything: ducks, birds, rodents, rats, raccoons and possums, but scientists studying the snakes have found the remains of bobcats, white-tailed deer and alligators in python stomachs. Alligators can actually do some python damage too, but once the snakes get large, the alligators are no match. Because pythons are nonnative reptiles and a top predator in Florida, they are causing damage to imperiled species and even problems for native wildlife that isn’t threatened.

Currently, Burmese python owners in Florida are required to purchase an annual license for $100 in order to legally keep a snake, and when it grows to two inches in diameter, they are required to implant it with a microchip. Any python captured in the Florida wild is checked for a microchip, and if one is found, the owner is fined for illegally turning the snake loose in nature.

_______________________________

Russian and Vietnamese scientists have announced their discovery of a new species of rattle-snake, which belongs to Protobothrops family, in the Trung Khanh Nature Reserve in the north-western province of Cao Bang, the Vietnam news agency reported Thursday.

Nguyen Thien Tao, who is in charge of amphibians and reptiles at the Vietnam Nature Museum, said this is the fourth species of rattle-snake of the Protobothrops family identified in Vietnam.

The three others are Protobothrops cornutus, P.jerdonii and P. mucrosquamatus.

The new species of rattle-snake is named Protobothrops trungkhanhensis Orlov, Ryabov, an endemic species found in only the Trung Khanh Nature Reserve in Cao Bang, Vietnam.

The snake is only 733mm in length, quite small compared to other Protobothrops species, with a small triangle-shaped head and small scales.

_______________________________


Jeff Fobb has an unusual job description. He's an experienced python catcher.

In his job with the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, rarely a week goes by without him being called on to capture a python or other nonnative snake spotted slithering through a suburban backyard.

On a recent call, Fobb found a 10-foot Burmese python that had crawled into a cage with two domestic ducks. Fobb says the python ate the ducks and got stuck in the cage.

That was an easy job.

Python Breeding Ground

Fobb sees all kinds of exotic snakes in his job, but the one he sees the most is the Burmese python. There are a lot of them in South Florida.

The snakes, which can grow to 12 feet or more, have established a breeding population in the Everglades and appear to be spreading out from there.

The death of a toddler in Florida last month, strangled by an escaped pet python, spurred a number of new initiatives. The federal government is considering a ban on python imports; Florida is considering a ban on sales. And the state has begun issuing python hunting permits to experienced snake handlers.

Fobb volunteered for the new state program for fun and because he's fascinated by snakes. He goes out about once a week, patrolling sections of the Everglades on foot — covering eight to 10 miles in a typical evening.

So far, he has been one of the most successful python hunters. On one trip, he caught three Burmese python hatchlings, each about 2 feet long. On another expedition, he caught a juvenile python: 5 feet long and not yet full-grown.

On The Trail With Fobb

On this evening, he was out on the trail once again, accompanied by two friends and a reporter, traipsing through an area southeast of Everglades National Park.

Fortunately, the trails are well-established. Many are roads created when engineers dug the series of drainage canals that crisscross the area.

As he walks, the 43-year-old Fobb is always looking down."Usually you can find them crossing the trail or the levee," he says.

It's late afternoon, but already the mosquitoes are thick. The members of this hunting group are all wearing a thick layer of mosquito repellent, but that hardly seems to matter. Large grasshoppers called "lubbers," some over 6 inches long, jump out of their way.

Fobb says he often finds pythons warming themselves on the open trail in the late afternoon and early evening. There may be Burmese pythons in the surrounding brush, he says, but spotting them can be nearly impossible. The snakes have excellent camouflage — what's called "cryptic coloration."

"Even a big snake can hide in something like this," he says, pointing to the brush alongside the trail. "If you pass by too quickly, you'd never know he was there."

From Pets To Predators

The beginnings of Florida's python problem are murky. Fobb and many other experts date it back to 1992, when Hurricane Andrew roared through South Florida. Fobb believes that amid the devastation, many snakes kept as pets got free.

A few years later, people began seeing Burmese pythons in Everglades National Park, and by 2006, it was clear that the snakes had established a breeding population. Scientists found their first female python with a nest of eggs.

Federal and state wildlife managers grew concerned that the aggressive Asian snake might threaten native species of reptiles and mammals. A few years ago, a Burmese python that made its way to the Florida Keys was captured after it ate two Key Largo wood rats — fewer than 200 of which are known to be alive in the wild.

That showed Burmese pythons could travel; wildlife managers have begun to wonder how far they might spread. A map prepared by the U.S. Geological Survey a few years ago showed the theoretical range of Burmese pythons as global warming takes hold, and it's alarming. On the map, the python's potential habitat covers nearly one-third of the country, extending up the East Coast as far as Washington, D.C., and on the West Coast up to San Francisco.

As other researchers pointed out, that map didn't take into account terrain, development and a host of other factors that would inhibit the pythons' spread.

But what really drew the attention of wildlife managers and the public was the tragic death in July of a 2-year-old girl, killed by an 8 1/2-foot python that escaped from its cage in the middle of the night.

A Soft Spot For Pythons

Back in the Everglades, Fobb and his team slog through mud and periphyton — the thick mat of algae that covers much of the Everglades. If you're looking for pythons, Fobb says, you have to go where the water is, because the pythons' prey have to go and get water. But, he notes, it's the rainy season in the Everglades.

"This is a hard time of year to look, because there's pretty much water everywhere," he says.

A little later, the sun has gone down and the hunting party is walking with flashlights. Fobb looks for any movement; he listens for rustling in the brush alongside the trail.

After four hours of trekking, sweating and swatting mosquitoes through the Everglades, it starts to become clear why Fobb spends so much time out here looking for pythons. He has a soft spot for Burmese pythons, and he admits it.

"You know, they're not here because of anything they did," he says. "They were transported here by people, for pets. And for one reason or the other, they made their way to the Everglades."

Their crime? Like many people, animals and plant species, Burmese pythons came to Florida — and they like it here.

At Last, Snakes

Fobb and his friends find two small ringneck snakes, a couple of garters, a banded watersnake and a DeKay's snake. They also find toads, frogs and alligators, but no Burmese pythons.

Fobb is a little disappointed.

"We did see a lot of natives, which is a good thing. The native populations are OK, and that's a positive thing," he says.

Catching a python would have been nice. But for this reporter, at least, the day wasn't a total bust.

____________________________
 
Old October 17th, 2009 #77
Alex Linder
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Typical government greed and stupidity: In January 2008, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission established new rules for people who own or exhibit wildlife. The new law requires anyone who wants to buy one of six reptiles, including Burmese pythons, to pay a $100 yearly fee and have a microchip implanted in the animal for tracking.

$100 a year? Microchip?

Estimates of the number of Burmese pythons living in the Everglades range from 30,000 to 150,000.

Who's the clown making these estimates?

Nelson introduced a bill last month that would ban the import of Burmese pythons after a Sumter County toddler was strangled by one in early July.

Typical politician. One irresponsible person = everyone losing their rights.

"There are no wild populations this far north, and there never will be," said Shawn Heflick, president of the Central Florida Herpetological Society in Winter Park. "It's too cold up here."

Common sense rears its ugly head and takes a vicious bite out of delicious made-for-tv disaster scenario.

Zarmati is one of only 13 licensed hunters permitted to do this on a volunteer basis. The results have been mediocre at best. Only 14 snakes have been caught since the hunt began. Of those, Zarmati said he caught six.

Government thinking and its finest. There are 150,000 pythons loose in Florida - an estimate with zero basis in reality. So, since there are one hundred fifty thousand gigantic pet and pet-owner-englutinating free-range nolegged monsters on the howl-n-prowl, we need to authorize a goodly number of giant killers, let us say...thirteen. And give them a month to complete their roundup. Result: .0000001 of the imaginary 150,000 snakes duly dispatched.
 
Old October 17th, 2009 #78
Alex Linder
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U.S. Geological Survey Moves to Ban Exotic Snake Sales
Reticulated Python in the Florida Everglades

The U.S. Geological Survey released a study that showed that Burmese pythons and other exotic snakes pose a serious risk to natural wildlife. This report is thought to be a major move toward restricting or preventing the sale of these animals. The U.S. Geological Survey mentions Burmese pythons, African rock pythons, boa constrictors, yellow anacondas, reticulated pythons, Deschauensee's anacondas, green anacondas, and Beni anacondas.

The species mentioned are listed to be a threat to the wildlife in national parks. "Native U.S. birds, mammals and reptiles in areas of potential invasion have never had to deal with huge predatory snakes before—individuals of the largest three species reach lengths of more than 20 feet and upward of 200 pounds," said the USGS in their report.

This study follows reports of aggressive populations of exotic snakes reproducing in the Florida Everglades, including graphic pictures of a Burmese python that killed itself in an attempt to swallow a full-grown American Alligator. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to declare some of these species "injurious species," which would prohibit importation and cross-state sales.

Pet industry advocates say that banning the sale of these snakes, of which the Boa Constrictor is the only one sold in typical pet stores, will encourage current snake owners to sell them illegally, release them in the wild, or even kill them.

The report cites how the invasive brown tree snake led to the extinction of ten forest bird species, as well as a large variety of bats and tree-dwelling lizards.

http://www.ecofactory.com/news/us-ge...e-sales-101409
 
Old October 17th, 2009 #79
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Giant Snakes Warming to U.S. Climes

Posted: October 14, 2009

By Janet Raloff, for Science News' Science & the Public Blog

Some were pets whose bodies and appetites apparently got too big for their owners to support. Most are probably descendants of released pets. Today, thousands of really big non-native snakes—we’re talking boa constrictors, anacondas and pythons—slither wild in southern Florida. And there’s nothing holding them in the Sunshine State. Which is why a report that was released today contends they pose moderate to high ecological threats to states on three U.S. coasts.

Indeed, the homelands of these snakes share climatic features with large portions of the United States—territory currently inhabited by some 120 million Americans. Based on comparisons of the temperatures, rainfall and land cover found in the snakes’ native range, it’s possible that these slithering behemoths could stake claims to territory as far north as coastal Delaware and Oregon. Or so Gordon Rodda and Robert Reed of the U.S. Geological Survey observe in a 300-page assessment. As North America’s climate warms, the two predict, these invaders might even expand that range—by the end of this century becoming permanent residents of the Midwest. [Complete scaremongering bullshit]

Except for the relatively diminutive boa constrictor, which may reach four meters in length,the constrictors dealt with in the new report—and commonly imported into the U.S. pet trade—can easily exceed six meters. Rodda and Reed report that three of the species that they focused onare already reproducing in the Everglades and other portions of south Florida: the boa, Burmese python (Python molurus bivittatus) and Northern African python (Python sebae).

Of these, the Burmese python appears most entrenched in Florida's wilds. In 2000, the National Park Service removed two of them from the Everglades, and three morea year later. Since then, the number of culled pythons has been increasing annually. Last year, 343 were pulled from the Everglades. As of last week, this year’s tally had reached 270.

But no one thinks these removals are making much of a dent in the growing emigrant populations.

The species is now believed to inhabit thousands of square miles of south Florida, USGS says, and its best guess is that they number in the tens of thousands. Finding them is challenging. “Detection probabilities for the Burmese Python in the Everglades are on the order of 1 in 1,000 per day, meaning that only a tiny fraction of the population can be found on demand,” Rodda and Reed say. This species is also quite fecund. In their native range, females can fill a nest with as many as 100 eggs. In Florida, two recent clutches were discovered with 79 and 85 eggs.

This species is one of the fastest growing of all snakes and can begin breeding at just a few years old. They can ultimately live to age 30 and consume meals of animals that might seem too big, mobile or aggressive to make a desirable entrée, such as leopards, alligators, porcupines, antelope and jackals.

The Burmese python is also fairly flexible in its real estate needs. It can inhabit temperate or tropical climes, both arid and very wet environments. And by hibernating, it can successfully overwinter in regions that average just a few degrees above freezing.

You can download the full USGS report to find out about the other snakes and why Rodda and Reed think they also pose a clear and present danger to U.S. ecosystems, especially across the southern United States.

The big issue is that these snakes have few predators in their native range and none in the States. Their U.S. prey—typically birds, reptiles, mammals, frogs, snakes and members of the gator family—have never learned to coexist with these big stalkers. Animals that lay in wait for hours until their prey comes by.Snakes that thengrab and gradually apply a squeezing death grip. These giant constrictors can hunt day or night, from trees or land or water.

It would be nice to think we could control the release of these ecologically troublesome predators by restricting their importation. But the new report says that domestic farming of these snakes, while “undocumented,” is believed to be substantial. “For Burmese Pythons in particular, the domestic production is judged to be as large or larger than importation.”

http://www.usnews.com/science/articl...us-climes.html
 
Old October 17th, 2009 #80
Alex Linder
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[British headline is typically ridiculous]

Florida Everglades fear rise of the people-eating super-snakes

An invasion of giant snakes has turned Florida into a potential spawning ground for hybrid super-serpents capable of devouring humans.

The discovery of African rock pythons close to the Everglades wetlands is a worrying development for wildlife officers already troubled by the rising population of Burmese pythons, bred from pets dumped illegally in the wild.

Kenneth Krysko, a herpetologist at the Florida Museum of Natural History, speculates that should the two species mate, they could create genetically superior offspring more aggressive, powerful and resilient than their parents — possibly with the ability to strike down human prey.

Rock pythons are “so mean, they come out of the egg striking . . . this is one vicious animal”, he told National Geographic News. “The arrival of the Burmese python was the biggest, most devastating problem that Florida could ever have imagined. Now we have a worse one.”

Native to South-East Asia, Burmese pythons — which can grow up to 20ft long and weigh more than 200lb — have gained a place in the Everglades in the past decade. Tens of thousands are now believed to prowl south Florida, preying on native wildlife, including alligators,

A new report by the US Geological Survey finds that eight other alien constrictors — including reticulated pythons, the world’s longest snakes, and green anacondas, the heaviest — are on the loose, posing a high-risk environmental threat. Five African rock pythons have been found so far. “These giant snakes threaten to destabilise some of our most precious ecosystems and parks,” said Robert Reed, an expert on invasive species.

The report notes that in their natural habitats, Burmese, reticulated and African pythons have been known to kill humans. “The situation with human risk is similar to that experienced with alligators: attacks in the wild are improbable but possible,” it adds.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has run schemes to try to combat the problem, including using thermal imaging to spot them in the undergrowth and licensing hunters. Postmen, meter-readers and FedEx delivery drivers have been trained to look out for snakes. Even so, the commission says that only 35 Burmese pythons have been captured since the hunting season opened in mid-July.

OFF THE SCALE

The world’s largest snake was Titanoboa cerrejonesis, a 42ft (13m) beast that weighed about 250lb (1,135kg) longer than a bus and heavier than a car. It slithered through South American rainforests about 60 million years ago. Fossils found in Colombia indicate that it killed its prey, including the ancestors of crocodiles, by constriction...

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...cle6878440.ece
 
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