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  • We get it, not everyone loves snakes.

  • You may not want to encounter one in the wild.

  • To each their own!

  • That's why we're here, to take you on a world tour

  • of some of nature's most incredible snakes from the safety of your home

  • and with your very own intrepid guide.

  • All the snakes we'll be visiting belong to a group called the vipers.

  • As of 2021, there are 368 species of viper worldwide.

  • The name comes from the term viviparity, which means giving birth to live young.

  • Unlike most snakes, which lay eggs,

  • most vipers have eggs that hatch inside the mother,

  • who then gives birth to up to dozens of tiny snakes.

  • Not glad you're safe at home yet?

  • Vipers are also often highly venomous,

  • with two hollow fangs that fold flat to the roofs of their mouths.

  • This allows the fangs to be extra long,

  • unfolding into imposing weapons when the viper prepares to strike.

  • So how about we pay them a surprise visit?

  • First stop: the southeastern United States,

  • where we can hear the viper before we can see it.

  • The eastern diamondback rattlesnake is the largest of 36 species of rattlesnake.

  • Rattlesnakes can shake their rattles up to 90 times per second

  • to warn off predators for hours if needed.

  • The rattle consists of hollow, interlocked segments made of keratin,

  • the same substance that makes our nails and hair.

  • When the snake shakes its tail, these segments hit each other,

  • creating a shockingly loud noise.

  • Now onto the mountains of western Iran, where a spider crawls across a rock,

  • making easy prey for a passing birdor not.

  • The spider-tailed horned viper is perfectly camouflaged, almost invisible,

  • except for its unique bulbous tail-tip with long drooping scales

  • that look like a leggy spider.

  • Spider-tailed vipers are only about 50 centimeters long,

  • so they can lure small birds within striking range

  • without compromising their ability to squeeze into narrow rock crevices.

  • In the rainforests of Latin America lives a viper

  • that couldn't be more different from the spider-tailed viper

  • if you can find it.

  • It's one of the most elusive snakes in the world:

  • the bushmaster.

  • The bushmaster is a pit viper.

  • Between each eye and nostril, it has a heat-sensing pit

  • with a membrane covered in highly sensitive receptors

  • that respond to temperature changes

  • as small as one one-thousandth of a degree Celsius.

  • These pits gather infrared information that is integrated with visual information

  • in the optic tectum.

  • This allows the bushmaster toseethe heat signature

  • of approaching prey or predators,

  • helping it decide whether or not to strike and strike more accurately.

  • This comes in handy for guarding a nest

  • unlike most other vipers, the bushmaster lays eggs

  • in hollowed out tree buttresses or burrows made by other animals.

  • It must be large enough to defend its nest

  • in fact, the bushmaster is the largest viper in the world,

  • reaching lengths of over 11 feet, with huge fangs and deadly venom.

  • Meanwhile, in the forests of sub-Saharan Africa,

  • there's a shorter, chunkier viper that's even more venomous than the bushmaster.

  • The African Gaboon viper has the longest fangs of any snake

  • yes, all 3,879 snake species, not just vipers

  • and can deliver 1,000 milligrams of venom in a single bite

  • enough to kill ten adult humans.

  • Although deadly, Gaboon vipers have a reputation

  • for being slow-moving and placid creatures.

  • When they do strike, they hold onto their rodent prey while the venom takes effect,

  • then quickly swallow it down.

  • At this point, you may be worrying about our guidebut never fear,

  • rodents like our little desert kangaroo rat have their own skills

  • to evade the serpent's tooth.

  • They stomp their feet at rattlesnakes, kick sand towards them,

  • and evade their strikes with acrobatic leaps and powerful kicks

  • helping them live to guide another snake tour.

We get it, not everyone loves snakes.

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    shuting1215 posted on 2022/04/10
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