Barn owl defends her young against snake


This video from the USA says about itself:

Barn Owl Attacks Snake Entering Nest Box. May 6, 2015

Watch this incredible footage of Dottie the female Texas Barn Owl defending her young against a Texas Rat Snake that attempted to enter the nest box.

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA about this:

Earlier this month, we witnessed a reminder that the Texas Barn Owls aren’t the only ones hunting for food during the night. Despite extensive predator guards installed around the owls’ box, a Texas rat snake gained access to the rafters. Our cameras captured the ensuing showdown as the snake approached the nest box entrance. Despite the midnight darkness, Dottie (the female owl) evicted the snake from the box, then, moments later, gathered her nestlings back to safety beneath her. Watch video [above].

It’s not just other predators that make raising a family of Barn Owls tough. The breeding ecology of Barn Owls can be boom-or-bust. They can be prolific breeders, often laying six or more eggs during a single breeding attempt, but if there’s not enough prey to support all of the nestlings, many can perish. One 16-year study in Utah found that, on average, only 63 percent of eggs hatched and 87 percent of hatchlings survived to fledging. This year, only 5 of 6 eggs hatched in the Texas Barn Owl nest and the youngest owlet (hatched nearly 11 days after the oldest) did not survive. The four remaining owlets appear healthy and well, and we are hopeful that they will survive to fledge. Watch cam.

Mating adders, video


This video shows mating adders, in Engbertsdijksvenen nature reserve in Overijssel province in the Netherlands.

G. Tjeerds made the video.

Cornell red-tailed hawks nest update


This video from the USA says about itself:

Red-Tailed Hawk vs. Rattler

In the scorching desert sky, a hawk spies prey — a venomous rattler! Who wins out in this battle of the predators?

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA:

May 6, 2015

Two hatched out, one to go…

As thousands of viewers watched, the second egg hatched in the nest of Red-tailed Hawks Big Red and Ezra during the afternoon of May 5. Viewers were captivated as Ezra stood over the hatchling, tenderly removing excess material from the egg as the hatchling emerged (watch highlight).

Our first nestling, F1, has already received several meals over the last 48 hours (watch highlight). Now downy and fresh, F1 appears twice as large as the egg that contained it just a few days ago. The third egg should hatch in the next couple days—don’t miss the chance to see it happen live! Watch now.

Snakebite antivenom discovery in American opossums


This video from the USA says about itself:

Virginia Opossum Family

12 July 2012

A short video clip of a Virginia Opossum family in wildlife rehabilitation at Evelyn’s Wildlife Refuge, Virginia Beach, VA. The mother Opossum came into care with an eye injury and front feet injuries.

From the East County Magazine in the USA:

SNAKEBITE ANTIVENOM SOURCE FOUND IN OPOSSUMS

By Miriam Raftery

April 5, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – Opossums aren’t typically thought of as a powerhouse in the animal kingdom. The term “playing possum” after all refers to one way opossums react to predators –by playing dead. But it turns out that opossums have a peptide that gives them a natural immunity to snakebites and other toxins – and now scientists are working to harness it to create anti-venoms.

Scientists have isolated the peptide, and in lab tests with mice exposed to venom, those opossum peptides proved effective against Western diamondback rattlers and Russell’s vipers from Pakistan. The results offer hope that a universal antivenom could be developed to counter the poisonous effects of snakebites from multiple species, National Geographic reports.

That’s big news, since worldwide, about 421,000 poisonous snake bites occur each year, and 20,000 deaths result, according to International Society on Toxicology. Human testing is next on the horizon.

Moreover, Newswise reporters, scientists found they could reproduce the peptide from E-coli bacteria, meaning it can be replicated cheaply and easily—no opossums need to be harmed in the process. Unlike standard snakebite anti-venoms, this one has thus far produced no serious side effects such as wheezing, rash or rapid heartbeat.

The anti-venom may even prove effective against other forms of toxins, since opossums also have a natural resistance to poisonous scorpions and some forms of toxic plants as well.

The results were presented in late March at the National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society in Denver.

The opossum, which resembles a large rat, is a marsupial tracing its origins back 65 million years, around the time dinosaurs went extinct. But only now have we learned a key secret to its survival against threats that kill many other animals.

So the next time you see a lowly opossum hanging by its tail from a fence or waddling across a road, remember – this ancient animal just may hold the key to saving your life if you’re ever bitten by a snake.

Adder research in the Netherlands, video


This Dutch video is about adder research in the Netherlands.

Adder mating season: here.

2015, Year of the Adder


This video from South Yorkshire in England is called Adders mating (Vipera berus).

2015 is not just the Year of Vincent van Gogh. And the Year of the Penny Bun for mycologists. And the Year of the Goat in the Chinese calendar (starting on 19 February). And the Year of the Badger.

The Dutch RAVON herpetologists have decided that 2015 is the year of the only venomous snake in the Netherlands: the adder. They hope that this year there will be more measures for a better environment for adders, like tunnels enabling them to cross roads.

See also here.

Dutch amphibians and reptiles in winter


This video from France shows a grass snake and an adder together.

Because winter weather has been relatively mild so far in January, some reptiles and amphibians in the Netherlands are already active, Dutch RAVON herpetologists report.

From 1 till 19 January 2015 were seen: two adders; four slow worms; eight Alpine newts; fifteen great crested newts; twenty smooth newts; eighteen common toads; 35 common frogs; one moor frog; six edible frogs; one red-eared slider turtle; and one loggerhead sea turtle.

Biodiversity, including small predators such as dragonflies and other aquatic bugs that attack and consume parasites, may improve the health of amphibians, according to a team of researchers. Amphibians have experienced marked declines in the wild around the world in recent decades, the team added: here.