Impurest's Guide to Animals #47 - Tentacled Snake

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Edited By ImpurestCheese

And bang 2015 proves to be the year that keeps on giving, or maybe I finally got a respite from breaking that mirror 6 years and 11 months ago. Last week (kind of) the snapping pistol shrimp Synalpheus regaliswas in the spotlight. This week we have the Mr X of the animal world. Hope you guys enjoy.

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Issue #47 - Tentacled Snake

[1]
[1]

Kingdom – Animalia

Phylum – Chordata

Class – Reptilia

Order – Squamata

Family – Colubridae

Genus – Erepton

Species – tentaculatum

Related Species - The Tentacled Snake is one of a number of closely related rear fanged Water Snakes (1)

Range - Tentacled Snakes can be found in the rivers, streams, lakes and costal water of Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Tactical Tentacles

Tentacled snakes are a small aquatic serpent reaching lengths of 50 to 90cm, and processing mottled black and brown camouflage. The species rarely leaves the water and prefers watercourses where visibility is poor. Despite this the species has good low light eyesight and enhances navigation by using the two fleshy tentacle like protrusions found on its snout. These tentacles are filled with neurons and are sensitive to even the slightest disturbance in the water column, allowing the snake to vector in on the disturbance and then access the cause through sight (2).

[2]
[2]

If the disturbance is prey then the snake is ready, with the body naturally resting in a strike position and able to hold almost half an hours worth of air before the snake needs to head to the surface for another breath. To the normal eye when the snake strikes it appears just like any other strike; a mixture of good range finding and patience, it’s only when the strike is slowed down that the real mastery behind the strike is seen. When threatened the muscles of a fish, the tentacled snake’s favoured prey, spasm in a movement called a C-Start, thus propelling the fish away from threatening vibrations in the water. The tentacled snake takes advantage of this, moving part of its body behind the fish, thus activating the C-Start reflex and sending the prey towards the head and venomous fangs of the snake (3).

[3]
[3]

While it’s prowess as a hunter in the water is formidable the tentacled snake struggles to move on land. As such the species has removed the need to leave the water and mates under the surface of its aquatic home and even gives birth to live young. If caught on land the species will burrow into the mud and wait until darkness when its senses are better suited to guide it back to the nearest watercourse.

Five Weird Water Snakes

The Dog Faced Water Snake (Cerberus rynchops) uses a sidewinding locomotion to leap, the only snake to truly be able to jump, across mudflats

The Keel Bellied Water Snake (Bitia hydrosies) has massively enlarged palatine teeth, while suspected to be used in feeding their exact purpose is still unknown

While most snake’s swallow their prey whole, the Crab Eating Water Snake (Fordonia leucobalia) is one of two species to rip its prey apart before eating it.

The Elephant Trunk Snake (Acrochorus arafurae) unlike the other species mentioned is a constrictor, and has developed jagged scales to limit fish, particularly those with a mucus coating to their scales, from moving

An Elephant Trunk Snake [4]
An Elephant Trunk Snake [4]

While invasive species are never welcome in new environments, the introduction of the Round Goby (Neogobius melanostomus) into the Great Lakes helped save the rapidly declining population of the local Northen Water Snake subspecies(Nerodia sipedon insularum), with the fish currently making up 90% of the species diet

Bibliography

1 - www.arkive.org

2 - http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/02/100202-tentacles-snakes/

3 - The tentacled snake turns a fish's defence into a death march". Not Exactly Rocket Science: Science for Everyone. ScienceBlogs

4 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removal of the Lake Erie water snake (Nerodia sipedon insularum) From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife (Report). 2011-08-16

Picture References

1 - https://bangkokherps.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/tentacled-snake-erpton-tentaculum-vietnam-alex-krohn-1.jpg

2 - http://whozoo.org/Intro2002/StephReder/wschlang1.jpg

3 - http://as.vanderbilt.edu/catanialab/manage/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/tentacled-snakes-1.jpg

4 - http://www.yurtopic.com/science/nature/images/amazing-snakes/elephant-trunk-snake.jpg

As we come to a close of this issue we bid farewell to the boatload of water snakes and their amazing talents. Next week we come across one of nature’s most diabolical creatures, something that is part mantis and part hornet. Until then critic, comment, suggest a new species to cover and check out past issues using Impurest’s Bestiary.

Many Thanks

Impurest Cheese

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dngn4774

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Pretty sure I've seen that one in a cartoon before. He's really big in Japan. ;)

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Never thought I'd see a snake with tentacles

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Racob7

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"I AM THE ETERNAL DRAGON."

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ccraft

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Really cool snakes, I like how they eat fish, idk if other snakes do that or not. It kind of looks like a Japanese dragon, with those tentacles.

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#6  Edited By Samimista

What an awesome snake! Never seen one like this before.

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#7  Edited By wildvine

Awesome stuff. Weird snakes.

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@racob7: Calm down Shenron I'll get to my wish in a minute

@cgoodness: Yeah those tentacles make him unique among the reptile world

@ccraft: That hunting style is unique to the tentacled snake. Other water snakes have more potent venom (sea snakes) or are a lot bigger (elephant trunk snake, yellow anaconda). Add to that the fact snakes don't teach their young anything and it's even more amazing

@samimista: Nope it's not well known outside of the scientific community despite it's amazing abilities

@dngn4774: Possibly, if it came with a sarcastic red headed female sidekick then someone has stolen me for the purpose of entertainment

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@wildvine: Cool thanks for the comment. As a reptile ecologist it's this kind of thing that I most enjoy sharing. Also nice to see you back once again :-)

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deactivated-5c901e667a76c

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I like the elephant trunk snake best.

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itsomething

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eww the first picture looks like a skinny piece of poop :)

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Ostyo

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@impurestcheese: Cool critter. I'm curious, would you be open to taking animal requests again?

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ImpurestCheese

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@ostyo: Most definitely. Have nothing planned after Issue 49 at the moment

@itsomething: Well he's trying to be a piece of dead wood so obviously he has failed

@xwraith: Yeah he's big and clunky yet helpless when on land

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ImpurestCheese

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@itsomething: Thanks, it's good enough to fool fish but not most humans. In fact even the venom is geared up to killing fish, it has almost no effect on mammalian tissue

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cattlebattle

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I wonder if these guys were some kind of basis for the depiction of Dragons is Asia. Seeing as the traditional chinese dragon usually has tentacles. Or perhaps those aren't supposed to be tentacles and they are supposed to be some sort of bitchin' Kubai Kahn mustache hairs or something.

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itsomething

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@itsomething: Thanks, it's good enough to fool fish but not most humans. In fact even the venom is geared up to killing fish, it has almost no effect on mammalian tissue

that's actually pretty cool

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Straight-Fire

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Wow. ^_^

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ImpurestCheese

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@cattlebattle: Maybe, to be honest dragons of all kinds are probably composite creatures based on prehistoric remains as well as extant animals such as crocodiles, fish like the Mekong Catfish, snakes of all kinds and large varanid lizards.

Also for those people wanting to see the Tentacled Snake utilising the C-Start hunting method here's a video for you all

Loading Video...

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#22  Edited By ImpurestCheese
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Straight-Fire

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ImpurestCheese

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@ccraft: Usual snake mating habits with the male wrapped round the female. It's suspected that this is a nocturnal activity since captive specimens occasionally get pregnant (Two instances in 12 years) despite their keepers never seeing a thing and only realising something was going on when eight baby tentacled snakes popped out of the mother one day

@dboyrules2011: Your welcome

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ccraft

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@impurestcheese: Thanks for the info man, as always good job on these guides!

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#27  Edited By ImpurestCheese
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cattlebattle

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@impurestcheese: Noted. Yeah, they say turtles and fish are usually the inspiration.....in other words, two of the most non threatening looking things ever.

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johnjo719

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Have you ever done a wolf before? I'm absolutely fascinated by them and the Way their pack works(well from What I've read and seen in documentaries)

I Like the chess playing snake who tricks the fish Though

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DarthAznable

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Not gonna lie. It looks like it has rat poop coming out of its nose.

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ImpurestCheese

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@cattlebattle: Yes there are plenty of non threatening species that inspire deadly dezins of mythology

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ImpurestCheese

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@johnjo719: That's the second call for a wolf, may have to bite the bullet and cover one in a later issue

@darthaznable: Ah cruel, poor little snake

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Wolverine008

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@impurestcheese: Splendid work as usual Impurest. These continue to be a joy to read :)

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@wolverine08: Thanks Wolvie. If there's any animal you want to see don't hesitate to drop the name here and I'll cover it

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I'm glad I watched the video. Continuing coolness, thanks!

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@ms-lola: Every little helps

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