Friday 14 September 2018

Ecology class with a difference - 5th class

Ecology classes with PFC continued with the latest session focussing on reptiles.  The children were taken to the Snake Park at Guindy where they saw snakes, played games, and generally had a wonderful educative session.

Here's a recap of the class by Shahana Shameer, Grade 6 who has blogged this:

Ecology Class 5
On this day we learned about snakes and some other reptiles because we went to the Snake Sark. (What else would we learn in that park other than about reptiles and snakes?)

Alright, so first we lets get started with our 4 big snakes in India. So the 4 big snakes are:
1.    Spectacled Cobra
2.    Common Krait
3.     Saw Scale Viper
4.    Russel’s Viper

Do you know why the Spectacled Cobra is actually called Spectacled Cobra? Because it has 2 dots on its back and they look like specs. Spectacled; Specs, get it? Okay lets move on.

And if you are wondering why are these called the 4 big snakes? Why are they known as 4 big snakes? They all ARE dangerous but the reason why is because they are responsible for causing a great number of significant deaths in India. Of the big 4, the common krait is more responsible for more deaths and then Russel’s Viper followed by Saw Scaled Viper and at last, the Indian Cobra.

Also do you know why it is called the Saw Scaled Viper? Because when there is a predator, the Saw Scale Viper rubs it’s tail on the ground to scare it away and it makes a cutting saw sound.

The Russel’s Viper is found throughout India and of course it is venomous. It grows to about 3 ½ ft. It feeds on rodents and gives births to 6-63 young!
The Common Krait feeds on small animals and grows upto 3ft.

Alright, so there are 4 species of Cobra in India.
  • Spectacled Cobra
  •  Monocled Cobra
  • King Cobra
  •  Andaman Cobra

I already told you about the Spectacled Cobra and so now I will tell you about the Monocled Cobra. And if you know the word Mono means 1. And the Monocled Cobra has only 1 dot on it back unlike the Spectacled Cobra, it has 2.

The Andaman Cobra gets its name from where it lives, The Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

The King Cobra is special and also known as the Indian Cobra. It is the only snake that eats other snakes. And sometimes even it’s own species, The King Cobras!

When a King Cobra lays eggs, it keeps them in a nest to incubate unlike the other snakes they cover it with themselves.  It takes 2 months for the babies to hatch. But the King Cobra leaves the nest before a month, why. Because it doesn’t want to eat it’s own babies. 

Now what is the difference between poison and venom?  Would you call a snake poisonous or venomous? Why?

1rst  lets know the difference between poison and venom. Venom will only work when it reaches our blood so it has to be injected or somehow reach your blood circulation. Now poison has to go to your digestive system. And if poison goes to your blood, nothing happens and if venom goes to your digestive system nothing will happen. (unless you have some medical issues, it may react) So you can drink venom!

I will tell you about a snake that you might have something in common with it. And not a lot of people have this. Albino snakes and Albinism. Albinism is a rare phenomenon where body’s melanin pigment gets lacked or below normal in their DNA. People people might have it. You know when people have dark colors and they may have patches of white or pick on their skin. Just like that an albino snake is total white so it makes it hard for itself to camouflage. And also they are non venomous.

How do non venomous snakes catch prey? They just gulp it down. Literally! Their body stretches like elastic. When we try to stretch are mouth it hurts because we have a specific  bone and snakes don’t. And the body gets bigger and fatter as it gulps down stuff.

Now I am going to tell you about some snakes you may have not heard of.
Wolf snake
Ø Nocturnal
Ø Feeds on geckos and skunks
Ø Lays 5-7 eggs in the month of December to January

Rat Snakes:
v They act and look like Spectacled Cobra because it will make it’s predator scare away. And Spectacled Cobra is one of the big 4.
v Non venomous
v Grows to about 6 ½ ft.
v Lays 8-22 eggs
v Feeds on rats, frogs and lizards
              Australian Green Python
§  Non venomous
§  Kills prey
§  Tree dwelling
§  Found in tropical evergreen forests
            Common Vine Snake
·       Found in India except northwest side
·       Grows to about 3 ½ ft
·       Feeds on lizards and small animals
·       Gives upto 23 young ones
·       Mildly venomous

Now I will take a break from snakes and talk about other reptiles.

  • Crocodiles, Alligators and Caimans together are known as crocodilians.
  • Crocodilians are represented by 23 species

  • Are a species of crocodile.
  •  Size upto 23 feet.
  • Snout tip for males and beak like structure.
  • Feeds mainly on fish.
  •  Lays 7-60 eggs
  •  Critically endangered species
  •  Hind leg is long.
  • Hind=back      Fore=front

Marsh crocodile
  • Throughout India
  •  Grows about 13 feet
  •  Feeds mainly on fishes, frogs, birds, snakes and mammals
  •  Lay 12 clutches, each about 10-50. In a year.

Nile crocodile:
  • Found in rivers of lakes and swamps of Madagascar
  • And can feed on large and small animals.
  •  Man killer

 Siamese crocodile are of course found in the Siamese River and north east Asia.

Indian Flapshell Turtle
  • Fresh waters of Inida and other parts of South Asia.
  • Feeds on small fishes and tadpoles.

Indian Black Turtle
  • Found in freshwaters of the Indian peninsula and northern eastern India.
  •  Feeds on veggies and animal matter.
  •  Grinding teeth. 

  • Crocodiles can grow teeth until they die.
  •  Crocodiles have little tears that buterflies drink.
  •  Frogs can jump to 30 ft. (13-15 times t’s own size)
  •  Some frogs are able to freeze as solid and are able to survive.

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