Snakes

 

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"Snakes...why did it have to be snakes" 

Indiana JonesRaiders of the Lost Ark

 

  The earth is home to over 2,700 species of snakes.  Unfortunately, no other group of animals has suffered such misunderstanding and persecution as the snakes.  Approximately 20% of the species of snakes in the world are venomous. This leaves 80% that pose little, or no threat to people.  Why are Snakes Important to Man?

It is a fact that like fish stories, snake stories grow taller down the line, the more often a story is told the larger and more ferocious the snake becomes.   Few animals evoke such fear and loathing as the snake family.  Luckily over the last few years the publics knowledge of these vitally important members of the animal kingdom has grown with the popularity of cable television programs as well as an informed group of caring individuals.

The fact is people are the ones that pose the greatest risk to snakes.  The world over, snakes are killed for their skins, to be eaten as food, or just out of pure ignorance on the part of an uninformed person.

RainForest Adventures is home to over 100 species of snakes. 

Our Collection changes on a regular basis to ensure repeat visitors to the Rain Forest are seeing new and exciting creatures all the time!   Baby snakes at RainForest are generally born (or hatched) from approximately mid March through late August of each year.   

 

 

 

 

 

Click on the photo of your choice below to be taken to the appropriate page! 

 Non Venomous Snake Page

 

 

 

 

What good are Snakes? 

RainForest staff is frequently asked this question. The answers will amaze and surprise you!

Rodents are the primary diet item for the majority of snakes in the world; there are certainly snakes that eat other snakes, and a few that eat eggs, slugs, frogs etc, but the overwhelming majority of snakes eat rodents! The fact is they eat lots of rodents! 

Most of us love Mickey Mouse, but the fact is he is an anthropomorphized cartoon character created by one of the most gifted entertainers of our time, Walt Disney!

The reality of mice and rats is really quite a different fact altogether.

Consider these facts: 

A female mouse can give birth every 21 days with the average litter being about 10 babies.  The babies can start to breed at about six weeks of age with an average well fed female capable of producing nearly 10-12 litters per year.  If half of her babies are females and they manage to grow up and start reproducing, it is conceivable (although certainly not probable) that one pair of mice and their off spring can produce nearly 2,000 mice in one year. 

 

In addition to many serious factors concerning mice and rats in and around our homes, the disease factor is one of the largest reasons why snakes are important. Mice and rats are known to transmit the following diseases:

  1. Salmonellosis - bacterial food poisoning, infection with or disease caused by bacteria of the genus Salmonella typically marked by gastroenteritis but often complicated by septicemia, meningitis, endocarditis, and various focal lesions (as in the kidneys) when food is contaminated with infected rodent feces.

     

  2. Other diseases include: Lymphocytic - of or relating to lymphocytes; "lymphocytic leukemia",

     

  3. Rickettsialpox - a disease characterized by fever, chills, headache, backache, and a spotty rash, caused by a bacterium of the genus Rickettsia transmitted to humans by the bite of a mite of the genus Allodermanyssus living on rodents such as the house mouse.

     

  4. Leptospirosis - Any of a group of infectious diseases that are caused by spirochetes of the genus Leptospira, are characterized by jaundice and fever, and are transmitted to humans by contact with the urine of infected animals.

     

  5. Choriomeningitis - Cerebral meningitis in which there is marked cellular infiltration of the meninges, often with a lymphocytic infiltration of the choroid plexuses.

     

  6. Rat bite fever - either of two febrile human diseases usually transmitted by the bite of a rat: a septicemia marked by irregular relapsing fever, rashes, muscular pain, and arthritis, and great weakness and caused by a bacterium of the genus Streptobacillus b : a disease that is marked by sharp elevation of temperature, swelling of lymph glands, eruption, recurrent inflammation of the bite wound, and muscular pains in the part where the bite wound occurred and that is caused by a bacterium of the genus Spirillum called also sodoku.
  7. Tularemia - An infectious disease caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis that chiefly affects rodents, but can also be transmitted to humans through the bite of various insects or contact with infected animals. In humans, the disease is characterized by intermittent fever and swelling of the lymph nodes.

     

  8. Lyme disease - an acute inflammatory disease that is usually characterized initially by the skin lesion erythema migrans and by fatigue, fever, and chills ,and if left untreated may later manifest itself in cardiac and neurological disorders, joint pain, and arthritis and that is caused by a spirochete of the genus Borrelia  transmitted by the bite of a tick especially of the genus Ixodes, I. dammini in the eastern and Midwestern U.S., I. pacificus especially in some parts of the Pacific coastal states of the U.S., and I. ricinus in Europe called also Lyme, Lyme borreliosis

     

  9. Dermatitis - inflammation of the skin; skin becomes itchy and may develop blisters and is caused by the bites of mites from the mice.

     

  10. Tapeworm - Any of various ribbon like, often very long flatworms of the class Cestoda, that lack an alimentary canal and are parasitic in the intestines of vertebrates, including humans.

     

  11. Favus - a contagious skin disease of humans and many domestic animals and fowls that is caused by a fungus called honeycomb ringworm.

     

  12. Black Plague - the epidemic form of bubonic plague.

     

  13. Hantavirus - pulmonary syndrome, a type of virus carried by rodents causing severe respiratory infections in humans, and in some cases, hemorrhaging, kidney disease, and death. Hantavirus is another danger becoming more common. Recently there have been numerous outbreaks of Hantavirus in the United States carried and spread by the house mouse. The virus is contracted by humans through inhalation of dust in contaminated rodent areas, usually where droppings and contaminated food tend to collect. If you have or have had a mouse infestation, always wear a respirator when cleaning the area. Symptoms of Hantavirus are similar to the flu including fever of 101 +, chills, body ache, and troubled breathing. It can be fatal, so if suspected see your doctor IMMEDIATELY.

     

 

All species of rodents carry and spread various diseases and can transmit diseases by way of their feces or urine, biting, infecting food they come in contact with and or contamination of food by urine and or feces, by fleas, by dying in a water supply, and by way of your dog or cat. Often, rodents are infested with fleas and or mites, which they spread among those with whom they live. Rodents are responsible for causing injuries to humans who at times become alarmed to such a degree that their reaction causes them to injure themselves in many different ways. The most common injury being fractures or broken bones.

 

The house mouse is extremely well adapted for living year round in homes, businesses, and many other structures. You are most likely to notice mice during their fall migration indoors and during the winter months because they seek a place of warmth, with a food source and shelter. Once they establish themselves, they can be challenge to control. Even though most people consider mice less disgusting than the rat, mice are much more common and cause EXTENSIVELY MORE damage. Mice are prolific breeders, producing offspring in great abundance, having usually six to ten litters continuously throughout the year each having approximately five to ten babies per litter, with a new litter every forty five days or so. At eight weeks of age, the pups are capable of mating. It is not unusual for a female to be lactating her young and pregnant with a new litter. The greatest economic loss caused by mice is not due to how much they eat, but what must be thrown out because of damage and or contamination. Food, clothing, furniture, books, and many other household items are contaminated by their droppings and urine, or damaged by their gnawing. House mice can EASILY gnaw through electrical wiring causing fires and failure of refrigerators, freezers, washers, clothes dryers, and many other appliances. These disease transmitting rodents are nocturnal creatures and are seldom seen by the home or business owner.

 

Extremely curious, they explore their territory daily, paying particular attention to new items or physical changes in their surroundings. Mice show no aversion to new objects. In comparison to rats, mice wander only short distances from their nest, usually not more than a maximum of 25 feet. If food and shelter are adequate, they may only wander a few feet. To be effective in wiping out these rodents, traps must be placed in the areas where mouse activity is blatant. Mice prefer to travel adjacent to walls and other edges which is another critical point to remember when positioning traps. Mice enjoy cereal grains and seeds in their feeding, however, peanut butter is also a very delicious favorite, especially when applied properly to a suicide trap. When many food sources are available they can be sporadic eaters. Mice may make up to 30 visits at different food sites each night, munching as little as .15 gram of food at each site. Sites can change from night to night, but certain sites, where the mouse feels safest are their nightly hotspots. On the other hand, when food is limited, mice may visit a food source 200 or more times per night, only taking about 20 milligrams during each visit. An average mouse will consume about 3 to 4 grams or about 1/10th of an ounce of food each night.

 

INTERESTING  FACTS ABOUT RODENTS

 

Rodents can survive almost anywhere where they can stay warm and food can be found. In the United States alone, rodents cause billions of dollars in damage annually. Did you know that the front incisor teeth of rodents never stop growing. Front teeth that are continuously growing is a trait shared by all rodents. It has been observed that mice without anything to gnaw on, reveals that the incisors can grow as much as five inches per year. The battle to rid dwellings of rodent infestations can certainly seem to be an uphill battle and if allowed to continue unaddressed, time ultimately favors the rodents. Rat and mice bones have been found in the caves where cavemen lived. Although water is vital to human health, such is not the case with all rodents. Desert dwelling kangaroo rats, gerbils, and prairie dogs never drink water. A chemical process transforms part of their solid food into water. A mouse can and will jump down 12 feet without injury. They can even have a vertical jump as high as 12 inches. They can easily scale rough vertical surfaces and walk along thin ropes and wires. The odor of mice is quite distinct, however, an experienced pest control specialists can tell the difference between rat and mouse odors. A black light can be used to locate the presence of mice. Urine will have a fluorescent glow under the black light.

SOME STATISTICS

They are excellent climbers and can run up most any roughened surface with the greatest of ease. Mice do not like to swim, nonetheless, they can swim, tread water and they apparently can hold their breath too. It is not uncommon to flush one down the toilet only to find that it reappears minutes later. Mice do not have bladders and they will relieve themselves at will anywhere. In six months a pair of mice can devour up to four pounds of food and produce 18,000 feces. They can endure extended periods of transport in closed containers, boxes, barrels or crates. Mice have lousy vision and cannot see clearly beyond about six inches. Mice can live as long as 18 months, but on average they live only about one year. Mice can enter a structure from an incredibly small hole, as small as 1/4 inch in diameter.

 

RAT FACTS

Rats will memorize specific pathways and use the same routes repeatedly. Rats can get in your home through an opening about the size of a quarter. Rats also damage structures, chew wiring and can cause electrical fires. Rat bites are reported by the thousands each year in the U.S. alone and many bites also go unreported. Accidental poisonings of humans and pets frequently occurs due to poorly planned efforts to poison rats.

Rats rely predominately on smell, taste, touch, and hearing as opposed to vision. They move around mainly in the dark using their long sensitive whiskers and the guard hairs on their body to guide them. Rats are very cautious, and if their food is in an exposed area where it cannot be quickly consumed, they will often carry or drag it to a safe haven. Rats have an excellent sense of taste that can enable them to detect certain compounds including rat poisons of extremely low concentrations.

Rats are omnivorous, eating nearly any type of food, including dead and dying members of their own species.

 

RainForest Adventures, Smoky Mountains, Tennessee