Smooth snake catches tail


This 11 October 2018 video is about a smooth snake which has fought with a lizard, but has caught only its tail.

Paul Peters made this video near Nijmegen city in the Netherlands.

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Young grass snakes’ lives saved


This 16 August 2018 Dutch video is about young grass snakes, just hatched, as usual for this species at that time of the year.

However, many grass snake nests are next to busy roads. That means traffic kills many young grass snakes.

Therefore, wildlife warden Harco and two young girls help the youngsters, bringing them to safe spots.

First dinosaur age baby snake discovered


This 19 July 2018 video is called 99-Million-Year-Old Baby Snake Fossil Found in Amber—First Of Its Kind | National Geographic.

This 18 July 2018 video is called Oldest Fossil of a Baby Snake Discovered Trapped in Amber Tomb.

By Laurel Hamers, 2:00pm, July 18, 2018:

This amber nugget from Myanmar holds the first known baby snake fossil

The delicate skeleton dates to about 99 million years ago

The first known fossil remains of a baby snake have turned up in a hunk of amber found in Myanmar. The critter, a new species named Xiaophis myanmarensis, met its untimely demise about 99 million years ago, during the Cretaceous Period, an international team of researchers reports July 18 in Science Advances.

How do we know it’s a baby?

First, it’s tiny. The skeleton, which is missing its skull, is about 5 centimeters long. In total, the snake was probably less than 8 centimeters. Plus, its incomplete bone formation matches what’s seen today in neonatal snakes.

Really? Nobody has found a fossilized baby snake before?

The fossil record for snakes has been notoriously sparse until about the last 20 years, says coauthor Michael Caldwell, a paleontologist at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. Snakes don’t preserve well in general. And this baby is especially delicate, with 97 wafer-thin vertebrae packed into just 47 millimeters of skeleton.

“Even if something that small was preserved in the fossil record, in normal fossil preservation styles, you’d never find it”, Caldwell says. Sedimentary rock would crush fragile remains and separate vertebrae, which individually would be nearly impossible to identify. It’s only because this snake had the misfortune to get caught up in sticky amber sap that its skeleton has been so exceptionally preserved in 3-D.

What can it teach us?

This fossil, plus skin from a larger snake of a different species, offers the first evidence that some Cretaceous-era snakes lived in forests. That’s not necessarily a surprise, Caldwell says. By then, snakes were distributed broadly around the world. But other snake fossils don’t always have enough clues to ID the animal’s habitat. Because amber oozes from a tree, anything preserved inside it must have lived nearby.

New snake species discovery in Australia


Vermicella parscauda. Derez, Arbuckle, Ruan, Xie, Huang, et al., 2018

From Zootaxa today:

A new species of bandy-bandy (Vermicella: Serpentes: Elapidae) from the Weipa region, Cape York, Australia

CHANTELLE M. DEREZ, KEVIN ARBUCKLE, ZHIQIANG RUAN, BING XIE, YU HUANG, LAUREN DIBBEN, QIONG SHI, FREEK J. VONK, BRYAN G. FRY

Abstract

Bandy-bandies (genus Vermicella) are small (50–100cm) black and white burrowing elapids with a highly specialised diet of blindsnakes (Typhlopidae). There are currently 5 recognized species in the genus, all located in Australia, with Vermicella annulata the most encountered species with the largest distribution.

Morphological and mitochondrial analyses of specimens collected from the Weipa area, Cape York, Queensland reveal the existence of a new species, which we describe as Vermicella parscauda sp. nov.

Mitochondrial DNA analysis (16S and ND4) and external morphological characteristics indicate that the closest relatives of the new species are not V. annulata, which also occurs on Cape York, but rather species from Western Australia and the Northern Territory (V. intermedia and V. multifasciata) which, like V. parscauda, occupy monsoon habitats.

Internasal scales are present in V. parscauda sp. nov., similar to V. annulata, but V. intermedia and V. multifasciata do not have nasal scales. V. parscauda sp. nov. has 55–94 black dorsal bands and mottled or black ventral scales terminating approximately 2/3rds of the body into formed black rings, suggesting that hyper-banding is a characteristic of the tropical monsoon snakes (V. intermedia, V. multifasciata and V. parscauda). The confined locality, potential habitat disruption due to mining activities, and scarcity of specimens indicates an urgent conservation concern for this species.

The ink has not yet dried on a scientific paper describing a new species of snake, yet the reptile may already be in danger of extinction due to mining. A team of biologists discovered a new species of bandy-bandy snake at Weipa on the west coast of the Cape York Peninsula: here.

Great Barrief Reef fish and snakes


This video says about itself:

Deadly Predators of the Reef: the Queensland Grouper and the Sea Snake | BBC Earth

30 June 2018

The reef is full of dangerous predators, including the giant Queensland grouper and the deadly sea snake.

Stretching a full 2000 kilometres in length and made up of 3000 individual reef systems and hundreds of islands, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is breathtakingly beautiful. Given world heritage status in 1981 it is one of the wonders of the natural world.