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Snakes on a Page: Full Serpent Coverage

National Geographic News
Updated August 14, 2006
 
"Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?"

Judging from his oft-quoted lament, Indiana Jones would sympathize with FBI agent Nelville Flynn, the hero of the latest animal horror movie Snakes on a Plane. Flynn, played by Hollywood heavyweight Samuel L. Jackson, finds himself midair battling a planeload of deadly serpents.

But before you decide to go medieval on the nearest limbless reptile, get the real facts about serpent dangers with stories, photos, and videos from National Geographic News.

Go behind the scenes with the movie's snake wrangler, learn how to survive snakebites, and discover some of the weirdest and rarest snake species on the planet.

PHOTOS

Gallery: Serpent Stars of ''Snakes on a Plane'' (August 2006)
Meet some of the various species of snake that appear in the upcoming thriller, including species actually used during filming.

Snake Swallows Electric Blanket (July 2006)
Surgery was needed to save a pet Burmese python that bit off a lot more than it could handle.

"Chameleon" Snake Found in Borneo Forest (June 2006)
A newly discovered snake species from Indonesia can switch from brown to white in a matter of minutes, WWF researchers recently announced.

Python Bursts After Eating Gator (October 2005)
A 13-foot (4-meter) Burmese python in Florida's Everglades National Park seems to have died after trying to eat a 6-foot-long (2-meter-long) American alligator.

Snakes Photo Essay (August 2002)
Take a photographic journey through the world of snakes, including the ways snakes have inspired myth and lore among various human cultures.

VIDEOS

Deadly Black Mamba Snake Climbs Tree for Squirrel Snack (August 2006)
Join the world's fastest serpent—the deadly black mamba, whose venom can kill a human in just 15 minutes—as it zips along the African wilderness in search of its next meal.

"Sneaky" Snake Tricks Thwart Predators (August 2006)
Join three species of serpent as they outsmart enemies with deadly looks, clever camouflage, and even a "second head."

Snake Attack Foiled By "Mommy" Bird (August 2006)
Watch as a king snake learns a painful lesson in the power of family ties when it tries to make a quick meal of a nest of thrasher chicks.

Snake Park in Oman Scales Up (August 2006)
See how the Middle Eastern attraction had to rebuild after being swindled by some real snakes—false reptile experts who made poor enclosures that likely caused all but one of the park's animals to die.

Anaconda Stalks World's Largest Rodent (August 2006)
Watch as a female anaconda in Venezuela hunts down a capybara—the world's largest rodent—and swallows her meal whole.

Rattlesnake Roundup Shakes Up Controversy in Texas (August 2006)
Go on a snake hunt in Sweetwater, Texas, and find out why the town's quirky spring festival has some reptile experts rattled.

How to Survive an Anaconda Bite (November 2005)
A scientist had to think fast when he found himself in a particularly bad spot: caught in the jaws of an anaconda. Learn the surprising technique for escaping the bite of this reptilian predator.

Hawk vs. Rattler—Battle of the Predators (November 2005)
It's a showdown between two of the world's most dangerous desert hunters: a red-tailed hawk and a diamondback rattlesnake. Who will win this battle of the predators?

NEWS STORIES

Snakes on Your Plane? Serpents Are Frequent Fliers Too (August 2006)
Thousands of snakes are shipped by air every week in the U.S. We ask the experts how they keep this creepy cargo from re-creating the mayhem of the new movie Snakes on a Plane.

Snake Threat May Have Spurred Evolution of Primate Eyes (August 2006)
Early primates developed keen eyesight to better detect and avoid increasingly dangerous snakes in a sort of evolutionary arms race, scientists say.

Snakes on a Plane: Behind the Scenes With the Movie's Snake Wrangler (July 2006)
Not all Hollywood gigs are glamorous. Just ask the snake wrangler who handled the slithering—and often poisonous—stars of the upcoming thriller Snakes on a Plane.

Snakes Evolved on Land, New Fossil Find Suggests (April 2006)
An ancient snake with a primitive pelvis might be proof that the now legless creatures originated on land, not in the water, researchers say.

Invasive Pythons Squeezing Florida Everglades (October 2005)
Hundreds of the constrictors—which reach upwards of 19 feet (6 meters) and 200 pounds (91 kilograms)—are breeding and expanding their range in Florida's wetlands.

Pythons Grow Bigger Hearts at Mealtimes (March 2005)
When Burmese pythons swallow their prey whole, the snakes hearts temporarily grow bigger, a change that enables the pythons to meet the metabolic demands of digesting a meal.

Cobras Spit Venom at Eyes With Nearly Perfect Aim (February 2005)
Cobras deliberately aim for the eyes of whomever or whatever they feel threatened by, researchers have conclusively proved.

Python-Tracking Puppy Trains to Patrol Everglades (February 2005)
In their growing battle against giant snakes that have invaded the Florida Everglades, park staff people have recruited a dog nicknamed "Python Pete."

"Extinct" Vipers, Other Reptiles Uncovered in Iran (December 2004)
Western zoologists allowed back into Iran in 2000 and 2002 found dozens of unknown amphibians and reptiles in the Islamic country.

Rare, "Weird" Snake Survives in Louisiana (October 2004)
The Louisiana pine snake, one of the rarest snakes in the U.S., is relatively abundant on a managed forest in Bienville Parish, Louisiana, and scientists want to know why.

Could Australia's Deadly Snakes Put Bite on Cancer? (August 2004)
Eighty percent of Australia's snake species are venomous, making the continent a paradise for researchers seeking the next generation of miracle drugs for fighting disease.

Huge, Freed Pet Pythons Invade Florida Everglades (June 2004)
Burmese pythons, one of the world's largest snakes and a favorite of the pet trade, are overrunning the iconic U.S. park.

Rattlesnakes Show Strong Family Bonds, Study Says (February 2004)
A new study of timber rattlesnakes in the eastern United States marks the first time kin recognition has been observed in snakes.

Scientist Discovers Why Cobra Venom Can't Kill Other Cobras (February 2004)
A tiny molecular variation in cobra venom keeps the deadly neurotoxin from affecting other snakes in the same family, researchers announced.

Snake Ancestors Lost Limbs on Land, Study Says (February 2004)
New genetic evidence may prove that snakes evolved on land, not at sea, reigniting a controversy that started in the 19th century.

Snake Handlers Hang On in Appalachian Churches (April 2003)
Serpent handling is always controversial and in many areas illegal, yet it shows no signs of disappearing from its traditional home in Appalachia.

India Snake Hunters Find Antidote to Joblessness (February 2003)
The Irula, a small group of indigenous forest-dwelling people, started a cooperative in 1978 that is now the largest venom-producing center in India.

"Shrunken" Boas Pose Question: Nature or Nurture? (March 2003)
Boas on a group of small islands just off the coast of Belize grow to only a fraction of the size of their mainland relatives, and finding out why could shed some light on reptile evolution.

India's "Snake Savior" Protects People, Reptiles (March 2003)
Animal welfare activist Snehal Bhatt has championed India's reptile residents—and taught her fellow Indians how to save both themselves and the country's snakes.

Anaconda Expert Wades Barefoot in Venezuela's Swamps (March 2003)
Jesús Rivas is a man who has followed his passion, and his passion is the green anaconda, the largest snake in the world.

Rattlesnake Roundups Draw Crowds, Complaints (March 2003)
Many U.S. communities say the festivals serve as key fundraising events, but the events also draw the ire of some conservationists and animal welfare advocates.

Deadly Snake Hunted for Lifesaving Venom (March 2003)
The notorious death adder is essential to the production of lifesaving snakebite antivenins.

Radio Transmitter-Fitted Snakes Share Habitat Secrets (October 2002)
San Diego researchers are implanting radio transmitters into rosy boas, red racers, and red diamond rattlesnakes to identify areas they consider prime real estate.

Relocated Sea Snakes Cross Seas to Go Home (October 2002)
Plans to restore some locally extinct populations of sea snakes by relocating the reptiles from neighboring islands may be doomed to fail—some types of amphibious snakes have an unstoppable urge to return home.

"Venom 1" Team Saves Snakebite Victims (August 2002)
The Miami-Dade team in Florida is the only firefighting unit in the U.S. equipped to deal with snakebites.

New Snake Footage Uncoils Mystery of Flying Serpents (August 2002)
In some regions of the world, several species of snakes not only slither through the jungle but glide from tree to tree. Using digital video cameras and and computer software, researchers have created a three-dimensional reconstruction of the snakes' flight.

Save the Scales? Experts Push for Snake Protection (August 2002)
An examination of 18,000 Australian snakes preserved in museum collections around the world shows that certain species may be slithering unnoticed toward extinction.

India's Snake Charmers Fade, Blaming Eco-Laws, TV (April 2002)
Once an icon of Indian culture, snake charmers today are struggling for survival—a victim, they say, of stringent wildlife protection laws and the advent of cable television.

Life Is Confusing For Two-Headed Snakes (March 2002)
Two-headed snakes are rare but not unheard of, and one recently found in Spain is giving scientists an opportunity to study how the anomaly affects the serpents' ability to hunt and mate.

Some Snakes Find Safety In "Cross-Dressing" (November 2001)
Scientists who study "cross-dressing" garter snakes have come up with a new answer to the question: "Why do they do it?"

Fear of Snakes, Spiders Rooted in Evolution, Study Finds (October 2001)
Such fear might have been shaped by evolution, a new study suggests, stretching back to a time when early mammals had to survive in an environment dominated by reptiles, some of which were deadly.

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