Various reptiles rarely cause sympathy for anyone. However, we are definitely not talking about a tiger snake. This animal has been very popular among exotic lovers since the sixties. Tiger snake is a brightly colored reptile with a docile and friendly character. For a very long time, she was considered an absolutely harmless creature, but this turned out not to be the case. You can learn more useful and interesting facts about the tiger snake from this publication.
Origin of the species and description
The tiger snake is a very common type of snake, part of a huge family of snakes. It is a member of the long-toothed snake genus, which includes nineteen species of different reptiles. And only one species lives on the territory of Russia, in particular, in Primorye and the Khabarovsk Territory.
Video: Tiger snake
The tiger snake is already peaceful in nature, therefore it is easily tamed and can be kept at home. For a very long time, this reptile was considered safe, and only in 2008, scientists were able to find out that such a one could cause significant damage to human health. In the course of research, it was possible to find out that the cervical glands of the snake accumulate toxins in themselves. This happens when the animal feeds on poisonous amphibians. Such information, of course, reduced the number of fans of the tiger snake.
Interesting fact: By accumulating poison in itself, it already changes its habits. From a calm, balanced creature, he turns into a fairly aggressive reptile. He no longer hides from predators or his other offenders, but begins to rebuff them by biting the victim. Such bites lead to serious poisoning in the attacker.
Recognizing a tiger snake in the wild is not so difficult. This is a relatively small snake, the body length of which reaches about one meter. A distinctive feature is the bright color. The upper part of the body of the animal is painted bright green and decorated with dark stripes. The neck and front of the body are red-orange in color. It is on this basis that this reptile is similar to a feline representative and got its name “Tiger already”.
Unlike most reptiles of the family, the tiger snake very quickly adapts to living in captivity. She is unpretentious, does not need a large “dwelling”. For life, a medium-sized terrarium is enough for her. The terrarium must be landscaped, equipped with branches for climbing and equipped inside with several shelters where the animal can hide from prying eyes.
Appearance and features
Snake the brindle already has several external features characteristic of it:
- relatively small dimensions. The length of such a reptile only occasionally exceeds one meter. The length of the tail is about thirty centimeters. The physique is slender, like that of other members of the family;
- small head. It is slightly detached from the rest of the body. However, the cervical interception is mild. The eyes are medium in size, the vision is very good, the pupil is round. The iris of the eyes is golden yellow. Blackening is visible only in front and behind;
- strong jaw. Like other snakes, the brindle is already endowed with a powerful, flexible and elastic jaw. The teeth are sharp. The last two teeth, located in the upper part of the oral cavity, differ significantly from the rest in their size. They are enlarged, slightly bent, separated from other teeth by a gap;
- bright and interesting color. The back of such snakes has a characteristically bright green color with dark stripes. However, in nature there are other color options: dark olive, dark green, light brown. It is extremely rare for adults to have a pure black or blue back. Between the dark stripes on the back, red edges of the scales are visible. There are black spots on the sides of the head;
- the middle of the body is covered with scales. Their number usually does not exceed nineteen pieces. The scales at the end are painted red;
- the tiger snake already has many scutes: ventral, undercaudal, pre- and postorbital.
Interesting fact: Many already-shaped at birth, various mutations occur. Tiger is no exception. Sometimes such reptiles are born with two heads. However, the lifespan of such unusual animals is quite short.
Where does the tiger snake live?
The natural habitat of snakes includes almost the entire mainland zone of Asia and the islands adjacent to the South-East. They are common in the Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia. Separate populations are also found in Russia, East China, Korea and the Japanese islands.
The tiger snake is already very selective in choosing a place to live. It requires a special climate and suitable environmental conditions. This type of snake does not like too high or low temperatures. It suits a temperate climate with high humidity. These snakes choose territories located near water bodies. They live preferably in forests, but sometimes snakes are found in treeless areas. However, in the latter case, there must be lush vegetation.
Also, tiger snakes are found near the sea coasts, in mixed forests, damp meadows, not far from swamps. In such an area, the population of snakes is very numerous. Sometimes for just a few kilometers you can meet up to forty adults. If in the warm season tiger snakes spend almost all the time on the surface of the earth, then in winter they cannot be seen. Such reptiles prefer to spend the winter in abandoned rodent burrows, in crevices. Wintering is always collective. Several individuals gather in one secluded place and hibernate. This helps keep them warm.
What does a tiger snake eat?
Tiger snakes are excellent hunters. These snakes are distinguished by good maneuverability and mobility. If necessary, they can almost instantly overcome long distances, various obstacles. Snakes can hunt on steep banks and even in trees. Also tiger snakes are excellent swimmers. They can search for food at a distance of several kilometers from the coast.
Tailless amphibians are the basis of the tiger snake's diet.
In particular, these are:
- grass frogs;
- sharp frogs;
- green frogs;
- grey toads;
- green toads;
- tree frogs.
Small fish are included in the diet: crucian carp, roach, chub. In addition, he will never refuse to eat small lizards, small mice, shrews, voles, swallow chicks, larks, vipers, young squirrels. In order to track and catch its next prey, a snake sometimes has to spend a lot of time waiting.
Interesting fact: Adder hunt only at certain times of the day – in the morning or in the evening. This is due to the characteristics of the life of amphibians, which make up ninety percent of the diet. At such times, amphibian activity is very low and easier to catch.
When snakes catch their prey, they do not strangle or kill it. The snakes swallow her whole and alive. From the outside, the process looks intimidating. The brindle already seems to “suck” the animal with its mouth, gradually pulling its jaws on it. If the prey is small, then swallowing it whole is not difficult. The hardest thing is when there is a large amphibian for lunch. A snake can mess with it for several hours in a row. It sucks large amphibians from its hind legs, so that all excess air can get out of the victim in the process.
Peculiarities of character and lifestyle
The tiger snake is an animal that leads a semi-aquatic lifestyle. It can be equally long on land and in water. However, snakes still prefer to spend more time on land. During the day, these reptiles are inactive. Most often, they spend their time in dense thickets, under the roots of a tree in a forest, or in alien burrows that have been left by other animals. Sometimes you can see these small snakes during the day, when the air temperature warms up and the sun shines in the sky. In this case, tiger snakes can be seen in the open space near the shore, on a wooden pier. In such places, reptiles love to bask in the sun.
The reptile crawls out to hunt only at dusk or early in the morning, when amphibians are not so neat and active. Snakes hunt with excellent eyesight and charm. They are almost silent, quickly find a suitable prey in the dark and deftly swallow it whole. The tiger snake is already very cautious, never in a hurry, so the process of hunting it can take a long time.
The activity of tiger snakes always depends on the ambient temperature. These animals love warm climates and are always active in sunny weather. When the air temperature drops, the snakes lose their vigilance, become passive and may not even react when predators approach them at a close enough distance. If the snake does not crawl away from danger, it takes a special defensive position. Brindle already raises the front part of the body to the top, hisses menacingly and rushes towards the attacker. In other cases, these snakes do not show aggression, they are quite peaceful and calm in nature.
Social structure and reproduction
The mating season for these reptiles begins immediately after spring awakening. In the southern part of the natural habitat, such snakes begin to mate quite early – at the end of February or at the beginning of March. In other territories, the mating season falls at the end of spring or the beginning of summer. After mating, the females carry the cubs for about forty-eight days. At this time, they try to eat mostly poisonous frogs. This allows them to accumulate enough toxins. Pregnant female snakes spend most of the day in the forest, where there are many poisonous amphibians.
Why do they need toxins? The thing is that little snakes cannot swallow a frog on their own, so they take poison directly from their mother. This increases the survival rate of offspring. In the southern regions, females lay eggs already in early May, in another part of the natural habitat – at the end of August. At one time, the female can lay from eight to twenty-two eggs. Each egg weighs approximately twenty grams.
Eggs need high temperatures and high humidity to develop. If the conditions are met, then after four to five weeks, the stingers are born. When hatched, their length does not exceed two hundred millimeters. Uzhata first feed on small insects, then their prey becomes larger and more nutritious. Children of tiger snakes grow and develop very quickly. Already at the age of one and a half, they are considered sexually mature.
Natural enemies of tiger snakes
The tiger snake is not easy prey for predators. These reptiles are very agile, agile and fast. These animals are good swimmers, they climb wonderfully along steep banks and trees. They can quickly move away from predators, cover huge distances without stopping. Such natural characteristics allow tiger snakes to hide from predators and other dangers.
Despite all of the above, the list of natural enemies of the Tiger snake is already quite extensive. The first place in it is occupied by mammals. Weasels, ferrets, martens, badgers, wild boars, hedgehogs, foxes, raccoon dogs are the most dangerous for small snakes. They lie in wait for reptiles while they hunt or are in a relaxed state, basking in the sun.
Many adults and small snakes die from birds. Many species of birds are not averse to feasting on such prey. The best hunters for tiger snakes among birds are: kites, snake-eaters, gray herons, storks, magpies, certain types of thrushes. Sometimes eggs and young snakes are attacked by large reptiles. You can also call a person a dangerous natural enemy of these animals. Many snakes and not only this species die at the hands of people.
Population and species status
The tiger snake is one of the many species of its family. Its status is Least Concern. In the natural habitat, the number of such reptiles is numerous. In a warm climate and high humidity, these animals feel great, have a long lifespan and multiply quickly. It is high fertility that is the key to maintaining a stable population of tiger snakes in the natural environment.
Despite the rather rosy forecasts, tiger snakes, like many other reptiles, are still in great danger. There are a lot of factors that negatively affect their number and survival.
In particular, these are:
- frequent attacks from mammals, birds and other natural enemies. Especially such snakes are defenseless at an early age. Many cubs die from the paws of predators, even before they reach the age of one month. Adults suffer from natural enemies much less often, because they know how to defend themselves and are more careful;
- deforestation. Uncontrolled logging leads to the fact that snakes simply have nowhere to live, eat and raise their offspring;
- polluted water in reservoirs and rivers. All this negatively affects the number of amphibians and fish. Namely, these amphibians are the main food for tiger snakes.
The tiger snake is one of the brightest and most interesting representatives of the snake family. This reptile with a colorful skin color, accommodating disposition has been very popular among exotic lovers for many years. Tiger snakes are prolific, agile and agile. They live in places with high humidity and a warm climate, in winter they fall into suspended animation. Tiger snakes are often kept at home, quickly becoming a favorite family member. However, it is important to remember that these reptiles are not entirely harmless and their maintenance requires certain conditions to be met.