Snakes

  • Sea snakes may be able to "breathe" underwater, thanks to a gill-like network of blood vessels in their heads.
  • ​For several years now, we've been hearing about "microneedle patches" that deliver medication less painfully and more safely than hypodermic needles. A new take on the technology may allow them to work even better, by copying the structure of venomous snakes' fangs.
  • ​We've all heard about ancient insects getting preserved in amber (fossilized tree resin), with similarly-preserved items including dinosaur feathers, mammalian red blood cells and a bizarre spider. Now, for the first time, scientists have found an amber-encased prehistoric snake.
  • ​With bacteria becoming ever more resistant to our best antibiotics, scientists are searching high and low for new ones in nature. Now a team from Australia and Spain have discovered a promising peptide in the venom of the South American Rattlesnake.
  • ​Ordinarily, turtle-headed sea snakes have black skin with white bands. In a recent study, however, it was discovered that snakes living on reefs near the city were almost pure black. It turns out that they've evolved to shed pollutants that bind to the melanin in black skin.
  • It sounds like the stuff of nightmares: a string of snakes hanging from a cave snatching bats out of midair. But this exact behavior has been spotted in Cuba, and is remarkable not so much because of the method of the hunt but of the coordination of the hunters.
  • Current snake antivenom might not be saving lives as efficiently as it could, given that they’re difficult and expensive to produce, distribute and administer. Now, researchers have developed a synthetic alternative with a long shelf-life that can neutralize venom from several species of snakes.
  • In the thick Amazonian rainforest, moving goods around is tough going. WeRobotics, a non-profit that seeks to deploy robotics for humanitarian causes, believes there may be a better way of doing things, using drones to take a much more efficient route.
  • While the bite from a puff adder, one of Africa's deadliest snakes, can take down a rhino, the reptiles can only strike within about 5-10 cm in front of it. Researchers have discovered that the snake employs a sneaky tactic called "lingual luring" to get its prey inside that deadly sphere.