Tentacled Snake babies a surprise for National Zoo's staff


The newest additions to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo were a surprise even to the keepers: eight Tentacled Snakes were born October 21 to parents that have not produced viable young in the past four years, despite breeding attempts. Tentacled Snakes are aquatic, produce live young and are ambush hunters. They use their tails to anchor themselves and wait underwater for their prey. They get their name from the unique tentacles that protrude from their snout and function as sensory mechanisms that allow the reptiles to pick up vibrations from fish that swim by.




“Within a few hours of being born, the snakes were already acting like adults,” said Matt Evans, Reptile Discovery Center keeper. “Instincts took over and they were hunting. We don’t know much about this cryptic species, but we’re already learning so much just watching them grow.”

Tentacled Snakes are native to the mangrove swamps of southeast Asia.  They can remain underwater for up to 30 minutes.  Known as rear-fanged snakes, their venomous fangs are located in the back of the mouth.  They are not considered dangerous to humans. 

The zoo’s four adult snakes are on exhibit at the Reptile Discovery Center, while the eight young snakes will likely be sent to other zoos when they get older. Only a few zoos exhibit this species, which is listed as Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Photo Credit: Brittany Steff, Smithsonian’s National Zoo.

Rare Snakes hatched at Lincoln Park Zoo return to Illinois’ wild prairies


Eighteen of the cutest creepy crawlers in Chicagoland were released into the wild on August 29 as part of a joint conservation effort by Lincoln Park Zoo and the Lake County Forest Preserve District that seeks to restore the Smooth Green Snake to its native prairie home.

Categorized as an Illinois Species in Greatest Need of Conservation, these tiny, jewel-colored snakes have drastically dwindled in population over the past few decades.

“Snakes need champions too,” said Lincoln Park Zoo Reintroduction Biologist Allison Sacerdote, Ph.D. “People like the warm and fuzzy animals, but it is important that conservation stretches across the entire ecosystem.”

After years of development across Illinois, the Prairie State has less than one percent of its original prairie intact.

“Our wildlife monitoring program revealed, that even in areas with the suitable habitat, Smooth Green Snakes were absent or extremely rare despite our habitat restoration efforts,” said Gary Glowacki, Wildlife Biologist of the Lake County Forest Preserve District. “The decline we have seen is largely due to habitat loss as prairies were converted into agriculture, urbanization, and the widespread use of pesticides.”

Essentially, the grasslands and the critters that call them home need all the help they can get.  In the case of the Smooth Green Snake, the help begins with a “head start” at the zoo. Animal care staffers provide optimum conditions for hatching and development so the snakes have a fighting chance when they are released.


Photo Credit: James Seidler

Continue reading "Rare Snakes hatched at Lincoln Park Zoo return to Illinois’ wild prairies" »



Officials from the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo announced yesterday that after a thorough seven-day search in the zoo’s Reptile House, the missing Egyptian cobra has been found inside the building. Officials made the announcement at a news conference, where they showed a photograph of the adolescent snake resting comfortably in a secure enclosure. This morning kicked off a whirlwind media tour with the yet to be named female Cobra joining the ladies of The View for a special live broadcast.


Photo credit: Julie Larsen Maher / Wildlife Conservation Society


Green Tree Python Babies Slither into Houston

Green Tree Pythons brown baby 4

Green Tree Pythons are a favorite among reptile fans due to their vibrant green color. However, zoo visitors are often amazed to see that newly hatched babies are either bright yellow or brick red. The Houston Zoo recently hatched 18 little Green Tree Pythons, 8 yellow and 10 red.  These colors help them hide in their preferred habitat, which is in low lying tree branches along the forest edge. When they grow to about 22 inches long their color changes to bright green - sometimes this color change can occur in only 8 days! The red and yellow colors are not related to sex or any other trait. While these reptiles may eventually reach over 4 1/2 feet in length, at birth they are about the length of a pencil. 

Green Tree Python hatching 2

Green Tree Pythons curled around branch 1

(Below) An adult Green Tree Python in its trademark colors

Adult color Green Tree Python Houston Zoo1Photo credits: Stephanie Adams

More photos and info below the fold

Continue reading "Green Tree Python Babies Slither into Houston" »

National Zoo Python Baby Wraps it up

Had enough of exotic kittens?  We didn't think so, but it's high time we represented the reptiles. These pictures taken yesterday at the National Zoo present pythons in a new light. Be careful though, adult green tree pythons grow to seven feet in length! Thanks to Linda Lombardi for the pictures and info.

Python 4b




This fellow was born in April. Read on to see more from the National Zoo...

Continue reading "National Zoo Python Baby Wraps it up" »