One-Year-Old Brazilian Boy Bites Venomous Pit Viper to Death

Vipers are usually the ones who do the biting, but a one-year-old boy from Brazil gave the venomous snake a taste of its own medicine, biting it on the head and killing it.

17-month-old Lorenzo was playing with the family dog in the garden of his home, in the town of Mostardas, Brazil’s Rio Grande do Sul state, when he apparently came face to face with a pit viper. His mother Jaine Ferreira Figueira, who was doing some work inside the house, heard some noises and turned around to go check on the boy, only to see him in the room with a snake in his mouth and blood on his clothes. She instinctively shouted for her husband Lucier. They quickly got in their car and took Lorenzo to the Sao Luiz hospital, some 175 km from Porto Alegre, but not before putting the snake in a jar, so doctors could identify it and administer the right anti-venom.

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Harmless Caterpillar Mimics Menacing Snake Head to Fool Predators

Meet the Dynastor darius darius, a harmless caterpillar with astounding survival skills. In order to avoid being attacked by predators during its pupal stage (when the larvae transform into butterflies or moths), the helpless creature takes on the form of a rather menacing snake!

Native to Trinidad, the shape-shifting D. darius often mimics the head of a Gaboon pit viper, successfully fooling even the toughest of its predators. After it sheds its final layer of skin, the caterpillar enters its pupal stage, and its chrysalis takes the shape of a viper’s head. The transformation lasts 13 days, during which time this mimicry is its only line of defense. To make the appearance even more believable, the scary-looking chrysalis hangs on the underside of forest leaves at a carefully selected angle.

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Fascinating Viper Uses Its Realistic Spider-Shaped Tail to Lure Prey

As if snakes weren’t scary enough on their own, some apparently have spiders for tails to raise the horror factor to infinity . The aptly named ‘spider-tailed viper’ has a bizarre arachnid-shaped appendage that it uses to attract unsuspecting prey.

According to science writer Ed Yong, the fearsome snake was formally described only nine years ago, in Iran. Its existence has been known since the sixties, but because only one specimen had been spotted, its tail was dismissed as a deformity. However, further investigations in the area revealed the tail was actually a defining characteristic of a whole new species of snakes.

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Indian “Snake Man” Charms the World’s Deadliest Snakes

40-year-old wildlife conservationist Vava Suresh has a way with snakes. His life’s mission is to ‘love and guard’ even the most venomous of slithery creatures – he’s already rescued over 30,000 snakes so far. His unique talent and hobby have earned him the nickname ‘Snake Man’; people all over the South Indian state of Kerala summon his expert services when they want a snake safely removed from their homes.

Suresh, who was born into a poor family in the city of Thiruvananthapuram, has a completely different perception of snakes than most people. He says that they’re gentle, lovable creatures that need kindness and protection from humans. “Snakes are a part of my life since childhood,” he said.

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World’s Largest Snake Gathering Turns Canadian Wilds into a Slithering Sea

Every spring, the Canadian wilds of Manitoba become a sea of nightmarish writhing snakes. A tangled mass of thousands of red-sided garter snakes come together in what is considered the largest snake-gathering in the world. After spending the long winter months in hibernation, they all come out for a bit of a breather, to frolic in the sun and perform their mating rituals.

The fascinating event takes place at the Narcisse Snake Dens, a few kilometers north of Narcisse, in Manitoba province. What makes Narcisse the ultimate rock-concert equivalent of the snake world? Well, the answer to that question dates back to the Paleozoic era, when the area of Manitoba was covered by an ancient ocean. The water doesn’t exist anymore, but the ocean bed still does – layer upon layer of thick limestone rock covers the region, with thousands of natural crevices, tunnels and caves. Rainwater seeps through these cracks and when the rock gives way near the surface, the resulting collapse forms a sinkhole.

The cold-blooded snakes happen to love these sinkholes, which are perfect for hibernation during the harsh Canadian winter with temperatures reaching 50 degrees below zero. So they migrate from far and wide and settle into the sinkholes, putting a good distance between themselves and the frost line. Because there’s a limited number of sinkholes, also known as den sites, all the snakes in an area have to go to the nearest den site. So there are literally tens of thousands of snakes crowded into just one sinkhole the size of the average living room.

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Philippines Zoo Offers Adrenaline Junkies Snake Massage from Four Giant Pythons

Everybody loves a good massage, but this snake massage at the Cebu City Zoo in Philippines is really something else. It involves 15 minutes of hardcore action, with four enormous Burmese pythons slithering all over brave participants.

According to zoo manager Giovanni Romarate, the free massages are a part of a new theme that encourages visitors to interact more with the animals. “We are going to change the zoo into an interactive one,” said Giovanni. “Everybody could have an experience and have a chance to hold and pet some of the animals here, including the snake massage that we newly introduced.”

The four snakes – Walter, EJ, Daniel and Michelle – are fed about 10 chickens each before the massage to avoid last minute hunger pangs. Obviously, the zoo authorities don’t want the reptiles snacking on their clients. The participants are given a set of safety instructions as well. According to tourist Ian Maclean, “They tell you not to blow air on the snake, because this is like being pinched on the bum. You can’t shout for help as the snake can feel your vibrations and thinks you’re a prey or a predator, depending on the environment.”

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Man Claims Diluted Venom Injections Have Made Him Immune to Snake Bites

Tim Friede, an unemployed factory worker and snake enthusiast, is a strong believer in the saying “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”.  In an attempt to build immunity to venoms and poisons, he has been injecting himself with diluted venom proteins from some of the deadliest snakes on Earth. He claims that as much as 100 snakes have sank their poisonous fangs into his flesh, including a black mamba which can kill a person in under 20 minutes.

His experiments aim to prove that humans can become immune to poisonous substances by gradually exposing the body to snake venom. Each time he injects the venom, his body produces more and more antibodies to eliminate the harmful substance. By doing this, he hopes to generate the necessary research needed to create a stronger and more efficient antivenin. “I hope through developing my own resistance to poison some solid groundwork can be laid to build a vaccine for the 125,000 people that die from snakebite every year,” Tim explains. So far he’s proven that his body can indeed withstand toxic quantities of snake venom. Numerous pictures and videos show him being bitten by the lethal serpents with him surviving every time. His trials do have some side effects including life-threatening allergic reactions that cause the bitten hand to swell up and deep puncture marks left by the sharp fangs.

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Man Self-Injects Snake Venom to Boost Up His Immunity

Steve Ludwin, a 42-year-old snake obsessed rocker from California, is one of a just a handful of people who regularly inject venom from the world’s deadliest snakes into their bloodstream, in the belief that it will make them immune to it.

Around 100,000 people around the world die from snake bites every year, and another 250,000 are permanently disabled, but these statistics don’t seem to scare Steve Ludwin. Every week for the past 23 years he has been injecting a venom cocktail from the world’s most dangerous snakes, trying to train his antibodies to resist the poison. By gradually increasing the quantity and frequency of the injections, he believes one day he will become immune not only to snake poison, but other viruses as well. Steve currently has a collection of 28 potentially deadly reptiles in his home, but he is always on the lookout for new additions, scouring European countries for missing specimens and attending snake conventions. On injection days, he expertly milks his snakes for a few milligrams of venom and visits an immunologist to have his killer shot. Within minutes, the muscles in his arm quadruple in size for around 24 hours, as his white blood cells struggle to fight off the poison. The doses he can take these days would kill the average person, but Steve usually goes to a rock concert right after the injection…

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Conquer Your Fears in China’s Snake Village

Nestled in the heart of a vast farmland in East China’s Zhejiang province, the small village of Zisiqiao has a pretty common look, but it hides a scary secret. The aptly names “snake village” is home to thousands of the most feared snaked species on Earth.

Snakes are a vital ingredient in Chinese medicine, and are also widely used to make soup and wine believed to increase a person’s immunity. As the number one snake village in China, Zisiqiao breeds and sells over 3 million snakes per year, to satisfy the ever-increasing demand. The 160 snake-breeding families living here now boast an annual income of several thousands yuan, and in this Year of the Snake, a significant profit increase is expected. The once poor village of Zisiqiao is now the envy of similar rural communities, with some of the larger snake farms making tens of thousands of dollars from this lucrative business. Obviously, it’s not the easiest job in the world, and most breeders admit they have been bitten several time, even by deadly snakes, but the rewards are definitely worth the risk.

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Chinese Boy Has Been Living and Sleeping with a Python for 13 Years

A family from Dongguan, China, has recently made headlines after it became known that their 13-year-old son’s best friend is a 15-foot Burmese python. The predator even looks after the boy when his parents are away.

Most grownups would turn away and run for their lives at the sight of a 220lb python, but 13-year-old Azhe Liu can’t get enough of his slithering friend. Ever since he was just a few months old, the two have been sharing the same bed, and today they are simply inseparable. Six years before Azhe was born, his father, Chen Liu, found a snake egg, brought it home and hatched it out. When the boy came, the python already weighed 20 kilograms, but having a snake around the house didn’t seem to bother the family. “I’d always thought them the most beautiful creatures and I was interested to see what would happen when my son came along,” Chen says. “After a while we were certain the snake wouldn’t hurt him and we began to leave them together alone. They really are inseparable.” Azhe and his Burmese python started sharing the same bed, and when he was just 9 months old, he was left alone with it, as the parents left to work. They would play and cuddle all day long, and during the hot summer months, the snake’s cold body acted as a natural air-conditioner.

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The Religious Serpent Handlers of Appalachia

You would think that handling snakes is an activity limited to the snake-charmers of India. After all, the handling of such venomous creatures is naturally associated with the mystical cultures of the East. But you will be surprised to know that the practice exists in the U.S. as well, and has been present here for the past 100 years. ‘Snake handling’ or ‘Serpent handling’, as it is called, is a religious ritual followed in a small number of Pentecostal churches in the U.S., with origins in 20th century Appalachia. The belief behind the practice dates back to antiquity, and followers quote the Gospel of Mark and Gospel of Luke for support:

And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. (Mark 16:17-18)

Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. (Luke 10:19)

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Thailand’s Cobra Village – Where Men and Snakes Live in Harmony

Sixty years ago, a doctor from Thailand had a vision for his small, dusty old village – to convert it into a major tourist attraction. And in an attempt to do so, he actually convinced his fellow villagers to raise pet snakes in their homes, putting them in shows for tourists. Surprisingly the ploy worked, and today the village of Ban Kok Sa-Nga in Thailand’s Northeastern Province of Khon Kaen is better known as ‘The Cobra Village’, among tourists.

All of the 140-odd homes in Ban Kok Sa-Nga have at least one pet snake, which they place outside in wooden boxes. The pet snakes range from deadly ones, such as king cobras or monocled cobras, to less dangerous ones such as copperheaded racers and pythons. The atmosphere in the village itself is always festive; it is one big snake show theme attraction. The snakes are bred in captivity and put together in daredevil shows such as – you won’t believe this – man vs. snake boxing matches. Obviously not for the light-hearted, these shows involve the handlers taunting an already enraged giant king cobra. As the snakes slither across the stage, the men pull their tails to provoke them further. Despite all the weird stunts that take place in these shows, what spooks out most tourists is the level of comfort the villagers share with the snakes. Most people are terrified of these creatures, but the people of Ban Kok Sa-Nga don’t even bat an eye-lid. Even the children are completely at ease; they are taught how to handle snakes, how to fight them and feed them, at a very young age.

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Ilha de Queimada Grande – Brazil’s Scary Snake Island

An aerial view of the Brazilian island of Ilha de Queimada Grande, you would agree, looks breathtaking. It’s probably a place where you would love to spend an exotic vacation. But this is an excellent example that looks can be very deceiving. If you were to set foot on the island, you would always be no more than 3 feet away from your death. Because for every square meter of land on the island, there is a very deadly, very poisonous snake.

Ilha de Queimada Grande is located about 90 miles off the shore of Brazil. The island is, not surprisingly, devoid of any kind of human presence. The Brazilian Navy has forbidden people from visiting the island, except for a few scientists who need special approval. The reason – the presence of highly dangerous Golden Lancehead snakes. The lanceheads that occupy the island of Ilha de Queimada Grande can grow anywhere between half a meter to 2 meters long. The venom these snakes inject is so powerful that it can kill two men at once. This venom is fast-acting too, since it simply melts the flesh surrounding the bite. The scaly creatures breed all year round, producing 50 babies each time. With no enemies, the snakes have been able to take over the island and populate it quite freely. They survive mainly on migratory birds that use the island as a resting point.

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Amazing Indian Girl Is Friends with Six King Cobras

India has long been known as the land of the snake charmers. But here’s something very unusual. An 8-year-old Indian girl who plays all day  not with other girls, but with her pet King Cobras.

Kajol Khan lives in the village of Ghatampur in Uttar Pradesh, with her parents, six sisters, two brothers and six pet Cobras, her best friends. She comes from a family of snake catchers and hopes to carry on in her father’s footsteps someday. Her father, 55-year-old Taj Mohammad has been working as a snake catcher in Ghatampur for the past 45 years. While he has already passed on his skills to his son, he’s unexpectedly found himself a mentor to his daughter Kajol. The little girl has been used to snakes crawling around her since she was a baby, and hence feels nothing out of the ordinary in their presence. In fact, she prefers hanging out with her slithering buddies rather than go to school. She has been bitten – on her stomach, cheeks and hands – but this is hardly of any concern to her. Kajol has always been able to make a full recovery, thanks to her father’s herbal medicine, which has been a family secret for generations. “I have a lot of fun with the cobras. It hurts when they bite me but sometimes it’s my own fault because I tease them. It’s quite funny.”

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Python Wedding Held in Cambodian Village

Over 1,000 people gathered in the Cambodian village of Sit Bow, to witness the wedding of two pythons, believed to bring prosperity and good fortune to the settlement.

Early 2008, I wrote a post about a Cambodian boy who had an unusually friendly relationship with a full grown python. Villagers believed he was the son of a dragon, and had supernatural powers. Fast forward to present day, Chamerun, the boy’s female pet snake is getting married to male Krong Pich, and the whole village has gathered for the big ceremony.

While most Camodians are Buddhists, they also believe in animism – a belief that spirits inhabit the bodies of animals – so whenever a bizarre animal makes an appearance, there are always speculations about it being housing some important spirit. Fortunetellers told the two snake owner their reptiles were soul mates blessed by the gods, and that they needed to be married and live together, otherwise the village will be struck by bad luck.

The marriage ceremony lasted two hours and was attended by people from all around the village area. Two Buddhist monks  blessed the snake couple, while villagers showered them with flowers and sang traditional wedding music. It must have been pretty creepy, for the pythons, of course.

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