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Contains articles and advice on a wide variety of snake species. Answers and addresses questions on species husbandry, captive status, breeding, news and conservation issues concerning snakes.

The Green Anaconda – Natural History of the World’s Largest Snake – Part 1

Green AnacondaWorking with Green Anacondas (Eunectes murinus) in the Bronx Zoo and participating in a capture/tagging project in Venezuela was a childhood dream come true.  While I cannot recommend a potentially deadly behemoth as a pet, interest in them is always high…today I’ll highlight the natural history of this impressive giant.


A stout animal that may exceed 400 pounds in weight, this is the world’s heaviest snake.  It vies with the Reticulated Python for the title of longest serpent.

In the past, 25-foot-long animals were encountered, but an individual approaching 20 feet is considered large today.  There is a fairly reliable record of a 33-foot-long Green Anaconda; an unverified field report from Eastern Columbia (1944) claims an individual of 37.5 feet.  In the course of tagging over 500 specimens, the largest I and my co-workers encountered in Western Venezuela was just over 17 feet long and tipped the scale at 215 pounds.  Read More »

Snake News – Function of Tentacled Snake’s Unique Appendages Revealed

Tentacled snakeLooking much like a waterlogged root, Southeast Asia’s Tentacled Snake (Erpeton tentaculatum) is one of the few fully aquatic serpents available to pet keepers.  This fascinating creature is unique among snakes in possessing a pair of scaled tentacles sprouting from its head…the function of which has puzzled herpetologists for more than a century. Read More »

Reputation Redeemed – Asp Cleared of Responsibility for Cleopatra’s Death

Egyptian CobraA 2,000 year-old-legend holds that Cleopatra, famed last Queen of Egypt, committed suicide by allowing an Asp, or Egyptian Cobra (Naja haje), to bite her.  A recent study at Germany’s University of Trier, however, has now called this story into question.

Plant Poison or Snake Toxin?

By analyzing ancient Egyptian papyrus scrolls and a Roman historian’s account of Cleopatra’s demise, German toxicologists have concluded that a lethal mixture of plant poisons, and not a venomous snake bite, was the more likely suicide agent.  Read More »

Study Hints at Global Snake Population Decline

A recent review of studies involving 17 populations of 8 snake species, including Ball Pythons, Asps, Rhinoceros Vipers and Gaboon Vipers, has raised the alarming possibility that steep declines may be in progress in many countries.  While it is too early to draw conclusions, this news is disturbingly similar to the origins of the global amphibian decline first uncovered in 1990.

Ominous Findings

The most frightening aspect of the study is the fact that unrelated snake species in widely varying habitats and locations (Italy, Nigeria, France, Australia) were involved.  Some of the largest declines – 90% in several cases – were recorded in protected areas.  Much like the extinction of the Golden Toad, which disappeared from a pristine cloud forest in Costa Rica, these mysterious declines point to causes that are difficult to identify and remedy.  Read More »

Rough and Smooth Green Snakes – Beautiful Insect-Eaters for Planted Terrariums – Part 2

Smooth green snakePlease see Part 1 of this article for more on the natural history and care of Rough and Smooth Green Snakes (Opheodrys aestivus and O. vernalis).


An ambient temperature of 70-76 F is ideal.  A basking site of 80-85F should be available as well.


There is some evidence that, in contrast to most snakes, Green Snakes benefit from exposure to UVB light.  A moderate-output bulb, such as the Zoo Med 2.0 should be provided.

As with most diurnal animals, Green Snakes will also benefit from the provision of a UVA-emitting bulb (incandescent UVA bulbs will also provide heat for the basking site). Read More »

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