Snake Antivenom

Snake antivenom is a human life-saver… but comes from horses!

  • ‘Snake antivenom’ is also known as ‘snake antivenin’ and ‘snake antivenene’.
  • Snake antivenom is typically a liquid substance that contains antibodies that help destroy snake venom.
  • Snake antivenom is created by injecting the snake’s venom, which has been ‘milked’, into an animal, such as a horse, which will create antibodies that are later extracted.
  • Snake antivenom should always be given to a snake-bite victim if the snake is poisonous and the venom has spread through the victim’s body.
  • Allergic reactions can occur after a patient has been given snake antivenom, but it only occurs in 10% of patients.
Snake antivenom, antivenin, Wyeth brand, North American Coral Snake, Bottle, Ten Random FactsOriginal Source: Unkn0wn
  • Snake antivenom should be administered when symptoms such as headaches, pains, loss of consciousness, paralysis and nausea occur, and a snakebite may have occurred.
  • Snake antivenom should not be frozen but instead refrigerated, and usually has a storage life of three years.
  • Snake antivenom was invented in 1894 by Léon Charles Albert Calmette, a French immunologist.
  • Snake antivenom can cost up to $1600 per vial, depending on the type, while a single person with a snake bite can use as many as 20 to 25 vials.
  • Snake antivenom can take years to make, and take more years for approval by the World Health Organization (WHO) before the product is usable.
Bibliography:
Australian Snake Bites, 2011, University of Sydney, http://www.anaesthesia.med.usyd.edu.au/resources/venom/snakebite.html
Main D, How to Make Antivenom—And Why the World is Running Short, n.d, Popular Mechanics, http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/health/med-tech/how-to-make-antivenom-why-the-world-is-running-out#slide-1
Snake Antivenom, 2013, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snake_antivenom

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Saltwater Crocodile

It is Saltie the Saltwater Crocodile!

  • Saltwater crocodiles are the world’s largest reptiles, growing an average of 3 to 5 meters (10 to 17 feet) in length, depending on the gender, and can grow up to 7 meters (23 feet) long.
  • ‘Saltwater crocodiles’ are also known as ‘salties’, ‘estuarine’ and ‘Indo-Pacific crocodiles’, and their scientific name is crocodylus porosus.
  • Saltwater crocodiles generally weigh between 400 to 1000 kilograms (880 to 2200 pounds) but they can be as heavy as 2000 kilograms (4400 pounds).
  • Saltwater crocodiles are typically found in mangrove swamps, deltas, lagoons, rivers, and estuaries, and can also be found swimming in the ocean, which they sometimes use to travel long distances during different seasons.
  • Saltwater crocodiles are native to South-east Asia, including India, and Australia.

Saltwater, Croc, Saltie, Two Third Body, Swamp, Sun Basking, Yellow Water Billabong, Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory, Australia, Jason Edwards

 

Saltwater Crocodile
Image courtesy of National Geographic
  • Saltwater crocodiles have vibration-sensing teeth, and their diet generally consists of fish, sharks, reptiles, birds, crustaceans and mammals although they cannot swallow their prey underwater.
  • A saltwater crocodile’s bite is the strongest of all non-extinct animals, as its teeth are designed to hold its prey and prevent it from escaping.
  • Saltwater crocodiles are the most dangerous crocodile, although attacks are not frequent, however there are usually a couple of human fatalities each year.
  • Saltwater crocodiles can lay up to 60 eggs at a time and baby salties are pale yellow in colour with black patterns, while the adults are generally murky green or greenish-black in colour with a pale yellow underbelly.
  • In 1971, 95% of the original Australian saltwater crocodile population had been hunted, commonly for its skin, however the species is now protected in Australia, and the population has recovered.
Bibliography:
Saltwater Crocodile, 2012, Northern Territory Tourism Central, <http://www.nttc.com.au/saltwater-crocodile>
Saltwater Crocodile, 2013, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saltwater_crocodile>

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King Cobra

Standing tall, flaring its hood… watch out for the king cobra.

  • The longest snake on earth is the king cobra, and its scientific name is ‘Ophiophagus hannah’, being the only snake in the Ophiophagus genus, with most other cobras belonging to the Naja genus.
  • King cobras range from black to dark brown to olive green in colour, grow up to and over five meters (16 feet) in length and can be as heavy as 9kg (20 pounds), although they typically weigh about 6 kg (13lb).
  • King cobras are native to India and southeastern Asia and are a protected species in India, as their numbers have become dangerously low, and it is illegal to kill them.
  • King cobras make a low hissing sound that sounds like a growl.
  • One bite, or 7ml (0.2 ounces) of king cobra venom can kill 20 humans or 1 elephant.

King Cobra, Snake, Up, Alert, Slither, Black, long, reptile, Ten Random Facts, Flickr

King Cobra
Image courtesy of Michael Allen Smith/Flickr
  • If threatened or cornered, king cobras will attack humans although they are more likely to escape and shy away from people where possible.
  • A king cobra’s diet consists mostly of other snakes, although they will sometimes eat lizards, birds, eggs and rodents, and they usually hunt their prey during the day.
  • King cobras are often the choice of snake charmers even though the snakes are deaf, they move instead to the vibrations in the ground.

  • King cobras have good vision and can see things that move from up to 100 meters (330 feet) away.
  • Female king cobras are believed to be the only snakes that construct nests, which they make from leaves and other vegetation on the ground, on which to lay their 20-40 eggs.
Bibliography:
King Cobra, 2013, National Geographic, http://animals.nationalgeographic.com.au/animals/reptiles/king-cobra/
King Cobra, 2010, Reptile Park, http://www.reptilepark.com.au/animalprofile.asp?id=114
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Flying Lizard

A special lizard.

  • Flying lizards are a family of lizards called ‘Draco’ which includes 31 different species.  They are also known as flying dragons.
  • Flying lizards spread out their skin and move their movable ribs – ‘wings’, which enables them to glide.
  • Flying lizards can’t fly with its ‘wings’, only glide.
  • Flying lizards can reach up to 35 cm (9.1 inches) in length, which includes its tail.
  • The ‘wings’ of the flying lizard have various coloured patterns, often in bright colours like orange, blue and red, which provide camouflage.

Draco Volans, Flying Dragon, Flying Lizard, Flickr, smallislander, Ten Random Facts

 Draco
Image courtesy of SmallIslander/Flickr
  • Flying lizards eat insects, particularly ants and termites.
  • The only time flying lizards land on the ground is to lay eggs.  They dig holes in the soil and lay one to four eggs in the hole.
  • Flying lizards can glide up to 60 metres, depending on the species.
  • Flying lizards are native to the Asia and India tropics.
  • Flying lizards are terrestrial since they claim one to three trees as there property.
Bibliography:
Draco volans 4 October, 2012, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Draco_(genus)>

Goanna

Go Anna!!

  • There are 30 known species of goanna, 25 which are found in Australia.
  • Goannas are Australian monitor lizards from the species group ‘Varanus’ which also includes some lizards from South East Asia.
  • Goannas are carnivores, and generally have large, sharp teeth and claws, and range from 20 cm (7.9 inches) to over 2 metres (65 feet, 7 inchs) in length.
  • Although many lizards can regrow their broken tail or limbs, a goanna can’t.
  • Goannas are generally good swimmers but generally don’t spend much time near water (with exceptions of water goannas).
Lace Monitar, Goanna, Lizard, Queensland, Australia, Ten Random Facts, Janowen Hills 4WD Park
  • Goannas typically eat insects, small lizards, mammals, birds and eggs.
  • Recent studies on monitor lizards suggest goannas are venomous.
  • Goannas are generally shy and timid, and are generally afraid of humans.  They have long been a source of food for indigenous Australians.
  • Goannas usually lay 5-6 eggs in a nest.
  • Goannas can rear up on their hind legs, run fast and are good tree climbers.
Bibliography:
Goanna 31 October 2012, Wikipedia, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goanna>
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