Snakes, scorpions may prevent hospital patients dying


This video is called National Geographic Wild – Deadly Snakes.

Translated from Leiden university in the Netherlands, 14 August 2014:

Poison of snakes and scorpions for new antibiotics

Hospital bacteria which are resistant to antibiotics are a growing problem. The Leiden antibiotic expert Gilles van Wezel will, along with colleague Michael Richardson and experts in the Leiden university hospital and Naturalis museum, look for new antibiotics, made from the poison of snakes and scorpions. To do that, he will get a cash injection from the Scientific Research Organisation.

Snakes counted in British gardens


This video is called Identifying snakes in the UK.

From Wildlife Extra:

Summer stock take of snakes take now underway in UK gardens

A spotlight is shining on snakes in UK gardens with a call from Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (ARC) to report if you have spotted a snake on your patch this summer?

The organisation is also asking gardeners to make their gardens “snake-safe” by cutting down on particular types of netting that can be a danger to the animals.

This summer so far has seen a record number of snake enquiries made to ARC. Most reports are grass snakes, which are harmless to people and pets.

This has prompted the “Summer Snake Stock Take” to help judge how snakes are faring in the UK today.

The naturalist and broadcaster Chris Packham, one of ARC’s patrons, said: “Snakes are amongst the most beautiful wildlife that we have, but sadly all three of the UK’s species [adder, grass and smooth] are in trouble.

“So if one turns up in your garden it’s a treat. Try to make it feel at home by making a pond or compost heap, and be very careful with any netting you use over the pond or your peas as snakes can become fatally entangled.”

Certain fine netting – especially the kind often used over ponds and to protect peas and strawberries – can be a death-trap for snakes and slow-worms, which are not true snakes but legless lizards.

ARC has published a leaflet setting out easy alternatives to this fine netting, helping gardeners to reduce snake casualties.

Jim Foster, ARC’s Conservation Director, said: “We’d like people to let us know if they’ve spotted a snake in their garden this summer.

“All sightings are useful: we know that snake habitat in the countryside is vanishing, yet gardens could be a backyard back-up plan for grass snakes. Gardeners can use our advice to boost local snake numbers.”

The new advice provides an ID guide to Britain’s snakes, answers to common queries, and facts to dispel widespread myths about snakes.

You can take part in the survey by visiting www.arc-trust.org/summer-snakes.

Grass snake expansion in Flanders


This video is called Britain in COLD BLOOD – The Grass Snake (Natrix natrix).

Translated from Knack weekly in Belgium, 7 July 2014:

The grass snake is on the rise in Flanders. The snake which until recently did not live in Flanders has been observed 27 times since the beginning of this year. VRT TV reports this.

The grass snake hibernates and lays its eggs inter alia in compost heaps. Probably the animal was brought from Germany with compost and the snake came to Limburg province that way.

Hummingbirds and snake in Costa Rica


This is a fiery-throated hummingbird video.

Still 28 March 2014 in Costa Rica. After the hummingbirds of San Gerardo de Dota, we went to a bit lower part of the mountains.

Fiery-throated hummingbirds, 28 March 2014

At 10:30, we stopped at a place with many hummingbirds. Fiery-throated hummingbirds were the species most attracted to the feeders.

Fiery-throated hummingbird on branch, 28 March 2014

Fiery-throated hummingbird feeding, 28 March 2014

Fiery-throated hummingbird on a branch, 28 March 2014

Fiery-throated hummingbirds on branches, 28 March 2014

Fiery-throated hummingbirds on branch, 28 March 2014

Other species: volcano hummingbird.

Magnificent hummingbird male, 28 March 2014

And magnificent hummingbird; both male and female.

Magnificent hummingbird female, 28 March 2014

And green violetear.

Hairy woodpecker, 28 March 2014

There was also a hairy woodpecker, feeding nestlings.

Sooty thrush, 28 March 2014

Sooty thrushes were present. We would not see them again, as they are birds of higher mountain levels.

Here, we also saw our only Costa Rican snake: a black-speckled palm-pitviper. A poisonous species, living only in the mountains of Costa Rica and Panama.

New wolf snake species discovery in Cambodia


This video from Thailand is called Common Wolf Snake – Lycodon capucinus; about a relative of the newly discovered snake.

From Wildlife Extra:

Distinctive new wolf snake species discovered in Cambodia

A new wolf snake species has been discovered in Cambodia’s Cardamom Mountains.

Wolf snakes are nonvenomous members of the family Colubridae, and named after their large teeth that are found in both jaws.

This distinctive, almost chequered, coloured snake was discovered by Cambodian herpetologist Neang Thy, Fauna & Flora International’s (FFI) research adviser in Phnom Penh, in a high altitude montane rainforest.

He said: “Given its unique colouration, submontane habitat and altitudinal separation from other wolf snakes in the region, the species will probably prove to be endemic to the Cardamom Mountains.”

The new snake has been named Lycodon zoosvictoriae by Thy in honour of the Zoological Parks and Gardens Board of Victoria in Australia, which has supported FFI’s studies in the region for several years.

Thy said: “The support FFI received from Zoos Victoria has helped build the capacity of Cambodian researchers and conservationists and has greatly improved understanding of Cambodia’s reptiles and amphibians. Naming this species in honour of Zoos Victoria will ensure a memorable and historical record of the support they’ve given FFI, both in discoveries and conservation of the Cardamoms.”

This discovery is the eighth new snake to be found in the Cardamom Mountains since survey work began in 2000.

This video is called Elusive New Wolf Snake Species Found In Cambodian Mountain.

The scientific description of this new species is here.

Good Guatemalan migratory birds and amphibians news


This video from Guatemalsa is called Saving the Sierra Caral.

From Wildlife Extra:

Creation of new Guatemala reserve has big implications for bird migration

Conservationists are celebrating the government in Guatemala’s formal establishment of a new 47,000 acre (19,013 hectare) protected area that will safeguard some of the country’s most endangered wildlife.

The reserve is home to three species of threatened birds, a host of migratory birds that breed in the United States, a dozen globally threatened frogs and salamanders, five of which are found nowhere else in the world, and the rare Merendon palm pit viper (Bothriechis thalassinus), an arboreal, blue-toned venomous snake.

The National Congress of Guatemala established the National Protected Area by an overwhelming pro-conservation vote of 106 in favour out of a total of 125 congressmen present in the session.

It is the first new protected area designated by the Guatemalan Congress in nine years.

The Core Zone of the area, the 6,000 acre Sierra Caral Amphibian Conservation Reserve, was established in 2012 by Fundación para el Ecodesarrollo y la Conservación (FUNDAECO) with assistance from, among others, the American Bird Conservancy (ABC), the World Land Trust, Global Wildlife Conservation and Southern Wings.

Tucked away in the eastern corner of Guatemala near the Caribbean Sea and running along the Honduran border, the newly protected area is named the Sierra Caral Water and Forest Reserve.

“We have been working to obtain the legal declaration of this new protected area for more than seven years,” said Marco Cerezo of FUNDAECO, a leading Guatemalan conservation organisation.

“Finally, the biological importance of Sierra Caral has been recognized by our National Congress. This new protected area brings us a step closer toward our dream, which is the conservation of key stop-over and wintering habitats for migratory birds along their flyway across Caribbean Guatemala.”

Along with other forested sites in the region, Sierra Caral contains critical overwintering and stopover sites for nearly 120 species of neotropical migratory birds, along with 13 species that are regionally endemic and three threatened species: highland guan, great curassow, and keel-billed motmot.

Migratory birds include the Canada warbler, Kentucky warbler, wood thrush, painted bunting, worm-eating warbler, and Louisiana waterthrush. Thirty-three migratory species with population declines in their breeding grounds have been reported in Sierra Caral.

Exploration of these mountains over the past two decades has yielded several new discoveries of beetles, salamanders, frogs, and snakes. At least 118 species of amphibians and reptiles are reported for this area, including seven endemic amphibians only recently discovered there.

“Guatemalan officials demonstrated great vision in establishing this protected area,” said Andrew Rothman, Migratory Bird Program Director at ABC. “They have preserved a key link in the migration corridor between North and South America for migratory birds and ensured North American breeding songbirds will have stopover and wintering ground habitat to use during migration.

“Without question, it is a key addition to Central America’s roster of protected areas.”

Thousands of years ago, the Sierra Caral Mountains were likely islands where species evolved that are found nowhere else.

With the additional convergence of North and South American flora and fauna in this region, Sierra Caral is one of the most unique places for wildlife on Earth.

Dutch wildlife passages for adders and other animals


This video is about the start of the eco-acqueduct construction near Rouveen in the Netherlands in February 2014.

Since the days of the Roman empire, there are aqueducts, leading water across roads.

In the Netherlands and other countries, there are now ecoducts, enabling wildlife to cross dangerous roads.

Now, near Rouveen village, in the Olde Maten area near the Weerribben nature reserve in the Netherlands, there is the first eco-acqueduct leading nature reserve water across a canal, enabling water animals, land animals and people to pass safely the canal and a road.

This video is called Adders Dancing (Vipera berus).

Also, more to the south in the Netherlands, from Limburg province, translated from L1 TV on 15 May 2014:

The Meinweg National Park has a first with the first light-transmitting adder tunnel in the Netherlands.

Which will be inaugurated next week. The Forestry Commission has been working for ten years at corridors for Meinweg adders. This tunnel, which is the final step, will go under the main road in the park.

Venomous snake

The adder is a Dutch venomous snake which is common in the national park. It loves light and heat. The Forestry Commission expects that the adders will now start using the tunnel as well.

The tunnel is about 8 meter long and 80 cm wide.

Getting Wildlife (Safely) to the Other Side of the Road: here.

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Mating adders, video


It is mating season now for adders in the Netherlands.

The male is a bit smaller and greyer than the female, and has more contrasting colours.

Roelof Jansen made the video.

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Flying snakes, new research


This video is called Flying Snakes – The Physics Of Snakes That Fly.

From Wildlife Extra:

Flying snakes intrigue scientists

They glide through the air with the greatest of ease…

March 2014: Forget Snakes on a Plane, there are some species of snakes in the world that are at home in the air. Three species of snake in the genus Chrysopelea are known to glide, and one, Chrysopelea paradisi, has even been seen turning in mid-air. They can travel as far as 100ft through the air, jumping off tree branches and rotating their ribs to flatten their bodies and move from side to side.

Animal flight behaviour is an exciting frontier for engineers to both apply knowledge of aerodynamics and to learn from nature’s solutions to operating in the air. Flying snakes are particularly intriguing to researchers because they lack wings or any other features that remotely resemble flight apparatus.

Before you envision flying snakes raining down from the sky, the ones involved in this study are small — about 1m in length and the width of your thumb — and live in the lowland tropical forests of Asia and Southeast Asia.

Virginia Tech Assistant Professor Jake Socha, renowned for his work with flying snakes, recently teamed with Boston University and George Washington University researchers to explore the snakes’ lift and wakes using computer simulations.

Previously, experiments in a wind tunnel had returned an unexpected finding: the snake’s shape is not only good at generating a force of lift, but it also gets an extra boost of lift when facing the air flow at a certain angle.

“After experiments uncovered this, we decided to use computer simulations to try to explain it,” says Lorena Barba, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the George Washington University.

So much of the aerodynamics of animal flight — especially that of flying snakes — remain a mystery. Scale is important, but also the manner in which flight is achieved.

“Rather than fixed wings, animal fliers have flapping wings,” explains Barba. “In the case of gliders, their small scale means they’re always in a flurry of whirling winds. By understanding how they can be graceful and efficient under these conditions, we can in turn use that knowledge to create small flying machines that are equally graceful.”

Whirls of wind can be particularly useful: these little vortices “can give flying snakes an extra lift,” notes Barba. “The shape of the snakes in flight — which is a flattened version of its shape at rest — gets help from little vortices around it.”

Next, the researchers would like to include more elements of the snake’s real gliding conditions into their computer simulations, such as its full body forming an S-shape, rather than working with just a section.

“This will be more difficult to do in a computer model, but it will probably reveal more about the complicated flow patterns snakes take advantage of to be such gifted gliders,” Barba says.

African snake identification


This video from South Africa says about itself:

7 Feb 2014

In this video, a live puff adder is used to show which physical features to look out for when learning how to identify a puff adder.

See also here.

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