Rare virgin births have been documented in some snake, shark, lizard, and bird species, but until now scientists have never found members of a normally sexual species reproducing asexually in the wild.
They captured pregnant copperhead and cottonmouth female pit-vipers from the field, where males were present.
The snakes gave birth, allowing the scientists to study the physical and genetic characteristics of the litters.
Of the 22 copperheads, the scientists found one female that must have had a virgin birth.
Another single virgin birth occurred within the 37 cottonmouth litters.
“I think the frequency is what really shocked us,” said Prof Booth.
From BBC Nature, via the Morning News.
A Ukraine zoo has a two-headed snake, which the zoo says come along about every 50 years. Rarer still, this snake is albino.
The handlers at the zoo say they have to separate the heads with a divider while it’s being fed, otherwise they end up fighting each other for the tastiest morsels. Which is weird since all the food goes down the same throat.
No, it’s not weird. They are the tastiest morsels! I know that I would want to taste the tastiest morsels, and maybe I would even fight my second head for them. Fuck that guy.
From Gather, via Gizmodo.
Chinese immigrants working on the Transcontinental Railroad used snake oil to treat their sore muscles.
Chinese water-snake oil contains 20 percent eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), one of the two types of omega-3 fatty acids most readily used by our bodies. Salmon, one of the most popular food sources of omega-3s, contains a maximum of 18 percent EPA, lower than that of snake oil.
Omega-3s reduce inflammation in muscles and joints. Hearing about this, fraudulent medicine salesmen started selling “rattlesnake oil”. Rattlesnakes have far less omega-3 fatty acid, but nevertheless, the medicine never included any actual snake oil.