Agriculture
Flush-Free Fertilizer
Keeping Bugs Away from Food
Watching out for vultures
Amphibians
Bullfrogs
Tree Frogs
Newts
Animals
Spotting the World's Leggiest Animal
Blotchy Face, Big-Time Wasp
Poor Devils
Behavior
Meet your mysterious relative
Island of Hope
Mind-reading Machine
Birds
Ibises
Ospreys
Storks
Chemistry and Materials
Moon Crash, Splash
Sticking Around with Gecko Tape
Fog Buster
Computers
Look into My Eyes
New twists for phantom limbs
Fingerprint Evidence
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Dino Babies
Downsized Dinosaurs
Meet your mysterious relative
E Learning Jamaica
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Earth
Hints of Life in Ancient Lava
What is groundwater
Snowflakes and Avalanches
Environment
The Best Defense Is a Good Snow Fence
Hazy with a Chance of Sunshine
Forests as a Tsunami Shield
Finding the Past
Ancient Cave Behavior
Big Woman of the Distant Past
Chicken of the Sea
Fish
Electric Ray
Swordfish
Megamouth Sharks
Food and Nutrition
A Pepper Part that Burns Fat
Strong Bones for Life
Eat Out, Eat Smart
GSAT English Rules
Who vs. That vs. Which
Finding Subjects and Verbs
Adjectives and Adverbs
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
GSAT Scholarship
How are students placed after passing the GSAT exam
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
GSAT Mathematics
GSAT Mathematics Quiz, Teaching Math, teaching anxiety
42,000 students will sit for the GSAT Exam in two weeks
Math is a real brain bender
Human Body
Electricity's Spark of Life
Surviving Olympic Heat
Gut Germs to the Rescue
Invertebrates
Walking Sticks
Giant Clam
Butterflies
Mammals
Boxers
Little Brown Bats
Cornish Rex
Parents
Children and Media
Expert report highlights the importance to parents of reading to children!
The Surprising Meaning and Benefits of Nursery Rhymes
Physics
Powering Ball Lightning
Electric Backpack
Project Music
Plants
Getting the dirt on carbon
A Giant Flower's New Family
Seeds of the Future
Reptiles
Black Mamba
Komodo Dragons
Rattlesnakes
Space and Astronomy
Supernovas Shed Light on Dark Energy
Ringing Saturn
Wrong-way planets do gymnastics
Technology and Engineering
Algae Motors
A Light Delay
Smart Windows
The Parts of Speech
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
What is a Noun
Problems with Prepositions
Transportation
Seen on the Science Fair Scene
Charged cars that would charge
Are Propellers Fin-ished?
Weather
The solar system's biggest junkyard
Polar Ice Feels the Heat
Recipe for a Hurricane
Add your Article

Snakes

Although often described as "slimey", snakes are actually anything but. Like all reptiles their bodies are very dry, but the shine of their unique scales makes it appear as if their skin has a slick appearance. Snakes (from Old English snaca, and ultimately from PIE base *snag- or *sneg-, "to crawl), also known as ophidians, are cold blooded legless reptiles closely related to lizards, which share the order Squamata. There are also several species of legless lizard which superficially resemble snakes, but are not otherwise related to them. A love of snakes is called ophiophilia, a fear of snakes is called ophidiophobia (or snakephobia). A specialist in snakes is an ophiologist. An old synonym for snake is serpent (which comes from Old French, and ultimately from PIE *serp-, "to creep"); in modern usage this usually refers to a mythic or symbolic snake, and information about such creatures will be found under serpent (symbolism). This article deals with the biology of snakes. All snakes are carnivorous, eating small animals including lizards and other snakes, rodents and other small mammals, birds, eggs or insects. Some snakes have a venomous bite which they use to kill their prey before eating it. Other snakes kill their prey by constriction. Still others swallow their prey whole and alive. Snakes do not chew their food and have a very flexible lower jaw, the two halves of which are not rigidly attached, and numerous other joints in their skull (see snake skull), allowing them to open their mouths wide enough to swallow their prey whole, even if it is larger in diameter than the snake itself. After eating, snakes become torpid while the process of digestion takes place. Digestion is an intensive activity, especially after the consumption of very large prey. In species which feed only sporadically, the entire intestine enters a reduced state between meals to conserve energy, and the digestive system is 'up-regulated' to full capacity within 48 hours of prey consumption. So much metabolic energy is involved in digestion that in Crotalus durissus, the Mexican rattlesnake, an increase of body temperature to as much as 6 degrees above the surrounding environment has been observed. Because of this, a snake disturbed after having eaten recently will often regurgitate the prey in order to be able to escape the perceived threat. However, when undisturbed, the digestive process is highly efficient, dissolving and absorbing everything but hair and claws, which are excreted along with uric acid waste. Snakes have been known to occasionally die from trying to swallow an animal that is too big. Snake digestive acids are unable to digest most plant matter, which passes through the digestive system mostly untouched. Snakes do not normally prey on people, but there are instances of small children being eaten by large constrictors in the jungle. While some particularly aggressive species exist, most will not attack humans unless startled or injured, preferring instead to avoid contact. In fact, the majority of snakes are either non-venomous or possess venom that is not harmful to humans. Snakes utilize a variety of methods of movement which allows them substantial mobility in spite of their legless condition. All snakes are capable of lateral undulation, in which the body is flexed side-to-side, and the flexed areas propagate posteriorly, giving the overall shape of a posteriorly propagating sine wave. In addition, all snakes are capable of concertina movement. This method of movement can be used to both climb trees and move through small tunnels. In the case of trees, the branch is grasped by the posterior portion of the body, while the anterior portion is extended. The anterior portion then grasps the branch, and the posterior portion is pulled forward. In the case of tunnels, instead of grasping, the body loops are pressed against the tunnel walls to attain traction, but the motion is otherwise similar. Another common method of locomotion is rectilinear locomotion, in which the snake remains straight and propels itself via a caterpillar-like motion of its belly-muscles. This mode is usually only used by very large, heavy snakes, such as large pythons and vipers. The most complex and interesting mode is sidewinding, an undulatory motion used to move across slippery mud or loose sand. Not all snakes dwell on land; sea snakes live in shallow tropical seas. Studies of the motion and muscle activity of moving snakes have shed light on how each of these modes is achieved. In terrestrial lateral undulation, posteriorly propagating unilateral waves of muscle contraction occur. The regions of muscle activity for each side extend from the most concave point on that side posteriorly to the most convex side. Thus, when a point on the snake's body is maximally flexed to the right, the right muscles activate, bending it back to the left until it's maximally right-convex, at which point the right side muscles turn off, and the left side muscles turn on. Speed is modulated primarily by alteration of frequency. Aquatic lateral undulation appears superficially similar, but the muscle activation pattern is different, with the regions of muscle activity being 'shifted' posteriorly to where they would be in terrestrial lateral undulation. The reasons for this difference are not fully understood. Sidewinding, though it appears complex and confusing, is actually a simple modification of terrestrial lateral undulation. At the points of maximal flexion, the dorsalmost muscle group (traversospinalis group) activates, lifting that portion of the body over the ground, and resulting in other portions of the body remaining in static contact. This mode is used to cross slick surfaces such as mud flats and sand, and has nothing to do with thermoregulation, as is sometimes erroneously stated. Many species of snake, including species commonly kept as pets and which do not usually encounter deserts or mud flats, will sidewind when placed on a slick floor or tabletop and enticed to move fast. Concertina locomotion and rectilinear locomotion are less well understood. Studies of muscle activity have only been done for tunnel concertina locomotion, which shows that the muscles are unilaterally active in static regions of bending in order to brace the snake against the tunnel walls. Rectilinear is believed to rely on different muscles from the other modes; while they all rely on the large epaxial muscles, rectilinear locomotion seems to rely upon the small costocutaneous muscles. However, this has not been verified experimentally, due to the difficulties in working with these small muscles.

Snakes
Snakes








Designed and Powered by HBJamaica.com™