Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Creature Feature: Wart Snake.

The first thing I thought after seeing a wart snake on was that it did not look like a snake. Instead, it reminded me of the dried up lamprey lab specimen that has never left my mind.

This + regular snake = wart snake.

Wart snakes are native to Australia and Indonesia, the general area of weird. They are the sole members in the genus Acrochordus ("high spine?"). Like sunbeams, these guys break the lines of families; they belong to their own family, Acrochordidae, as opposed to being classified as colubrids or any familiar group.

The name says it all: This snake has pyramidal scales that look like warts instead of overlapping like on normal serpents. As an entirely aquatic snake, the wart snake also lacks scutes - the scales on a snake's belly that allow them to slither. The name neglects to mention the wrinkled skin or puppy-dog face, but nicknames like "elephant trunk" and "dogface" cover the other oddities. (On an extremely odd side note, I am unsure whether these water-dwelling snakes have orgies or not.)

These snakes are becoming extremely rare. Their skin, once stripped of its signature warty scales, is used to make handbags (making them one of the few non-constrictors used for such). Furthermore, they tend to fare poorly in captivity due to either skin infections or unwillingness to eat.

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