1. The majority of venomous species are ectotherms, cold-blooded creatures whose internal temperatures are governed by their surroundings.
2. This means they have limited periods of activity - mainly while it’s warm out, and can only exert short bursts of energy, so they are generally “sit and wait” predators. This may explain why they, more than mammals or birds, evolved venom.
3. It also explains why there are more of these species in warm climates. There are more of all species in warm climates, but this trend is especially pronounced for ectotherms.
4. So there are a greater number of venomous species in warm places, simply because there are more species in warm places. Cold climates still have venomous creatures, like the rattlesnakes of Canada and European vipers.
5. But history also has a role to play. In Australia, there were no snakes until 20 million years ago when a venomous sea snake from Asia encountered the land, sending venomous species to all corners of the continent. Later non-venomous arrivals have done well in the tropics but not as well in Australia’s colder climates, so venomous types still dominate there. Hawaii has no venomous land snakes and nor does Jamaica.
6. The recent ice age also would have driven ectotherms from the northern parts of the Northern Hemisphere. This is why there are no snakes in Ireland, for example.
North Carolina politician Buck Newton is bent on submitting to oil and gas companies. Local media has soured on the Republican, yet NC residents remain silent. The bill (in part) exempts oil and gas frackers from regular permitting procedures, such as avoiding pollution monitoring. Faster drill permits means faster fracking development for the state. (I also note that Duke Energy, which contributed to Buck Newton’s campaign, is lobbying to raise electricity rates. In other words, drillers want free money from two sources - free gas from drilling, and free money from residents’ electric bills. Clever.).
North Carolina hopes recent legislation introduced into its general assembly will send a “very clear signal” to oil and gas companies that the state wants shale gas exploration in the state, a state representative told Rigzone in an interview Monday.
State Sen. E.S. “Buck” Newton, the sponsor of Senate Bill (SB) 76, the Domestic Energy Jobs Act, told Rigzone that, while the ban on horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing has been lifted, the state hopes to provide certainty to the energy industry by fixing a specific date in which permits for shale gas drilling can be pulled.
North Carolina officials hope to send a signal in two ways – one, that the legislature is very serious about pursuing shale exploration, and two, that the state is working “with all deliberate and purposeful speed” to get itself ready to issue permits.
Early indicators show North Carolina to have shale gas reserves that may be on the order of the Fayetteville play in Arkansas, with approximately 1.4 million surface acres with shale deposits of an average thickness of 200 feet. North Carolina has three basins with shale potential. The Deep River Basin, the one that is most talked about, has wet gas reserves.
A couple discovered a huge python hitching a ride in their car. The slithery squatter sneaked underneath the bonnet of Marlene Swart and Leon Swanepoel’s car while they were on holiday at the Kruger National Park in South Africa. They were on the look-out for lions when the five-metre python shot out of the grass and disappeared under their car. When the snake failed to reappear Marlene and Leon were forced to endure a three-mile journey knowing the python was somewhere inside their vehicle before arriving at the nearest lookout point.
“A snake charmer in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh was angry that the government did not grant him a plot of land to keep his reptiles. So he went into the state’s tax office and released a slew of snakes, including poisonous cobras. From The Telegraph:
Workers stood on chairs and shook table clothes at the hissing reptiles as excited crowds gathered outside.
Hakkul later told reporters that a district magistrate had promised him a plot of land for his snakes two years ago.
“I am a conservationist and have been seeking the government’s help. Having waited patiently for so long, I had no option but to leave all my snakes in this office.”
The lush forest of Cambodia’s Koh Kong Province was destroyed when people fleeing the Khmer Rouge began living there, and now the Wildlife Alliance is working to regrow it. Filmmaker David P. Alexander talks about his adventures documenting the project in an interview with The Atlantic:
Working at Wildlife Alliance has been both a fascinating journey, and a challenging one as well. Everyone here is passionate about their jobs, and as such the work often carries over into the nights and weekends.
One time I was out searching for illegal loggers in the jungle, and I had a “seeing through the Matrix” moment. There I was, dripping sweat in the middle of the Cambodian rainforest, and I just realized that this is what all the “green” talk is about. You have people trying to cut down the forest, and you have people trying to protect it. It was great to see a concept as broad as preserving the environment reduced to eight guys on patrol in the jungle.
Another moment that stands out was when I found a Bamboo Viper sleeping in my bungalow. I read about the snake later and apparently your hand falls off if it bites you, or something crazy like that.
A blog about the interactions between the built environment, people, and nature.
I'm a climate change consultant specializing in climate adaptation, environmental law, and urban planning based in the U.S. In addition to traveling and hiking, I research, publish, and lecture on how cities can adapt to climate change.
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