#1 Posted by Patchinko (841 posts) -

World's Smallest Snake Discovered

[Link]
Tiny snakes may be used as currency in an apocalyptic future.
By Jennifer Carpenter
Science reporter, BBC News

The world's smallest snake, averaging just 10cm (4 inches) and as thin as a spaghetti noodle, has been discovered on the Caribbean island of Barbados.

The snake, found beneath a rock in a tiny fragment of threatened forest, is thought to be at the very limit of how small a snake can evolve to be. Females produce only a single, massive egg - and the young hatch at half of their adult body weight. This new discovery is described in the journal of Zootaxa.

The snake - named Leptotyphlops carlae - is the smallest of the 3,100 known snake species and was uncovered by Dr Blair Hedges, a biologist from Penn State University, US.
"I was thrilled when I turned over that rock and found it," Dr Hedges told BBC News. "After finding the first one, we turned hundreds of other stones to find another one." In total, Dr Hedges and his herpetologist wife found only two females.

Defining species

Dr Hedges thinks that the snake eats termites and is endemic to this one Caribbean island. He said that, in fact, three very old specimens of this species were already in collections - one in London's Natural History Museum and two in a museum in Martinique.
However, these specimens had been misidentified.

Dr Hedges explained the difficulty in defining a new species when the organism is so small. "Differences in small animals are much more subtle and so are frequently over-looked," he said. Modern genetic fingerprinting is often the only way to tell species apart. "The great thing is that DNA is as different between two small snakes as it is between two large snakes, allowing us to see the differences that we can't see by eye," explained Dr Hedges.

Researchers believe that the snake - a type of thread snake - is so rare that it has survived un-noticed until now. But with 95% of the island of Barbados now treeless, and the few fragments of forest seriously threatened, this new species of snake might become extinct only months after it was discovered.

Smallest of the small


In contrast to other species of snake - some of which can lay up to 100 eggs in a single clutch - the world's smallest snake only produces a single egg.
"This is unusual for snakes but seems to be a feature of small animals," Dr Hedges told BBC News. By having a single egg at a time, the snake's young are one-half the length of the adult. That would be like humans giving birth to a 60-pound (27kg) baby Dr Hedges added that the snake's size might limit the size of its clutch.

"If a tiny snake were to have more than one offspring, each egg would have to share the same space occupied by the one egg and so the two hatchlings would be half the normal size."
The hatchlings might then be too small to find anything small enough to eat. This has led the researchers to believe that the Barbadian snake is as small as a snake can evolve to be.


The most important question: Where can I get me one of these tiny snakes?
#2 Posted by Fr0Br0 (3091 posts) -

I would think that's a worm if I ever saw it.

#3 Posted by WhySoSerious (646 posts) -
Fr0Br0 said:
"I would think that's a worm if I ever saw it.
"
Me too.
#4 Posted by brukaoru (5079 posts) -

The size of a quarter... Omg... It could crawl in my ears... Eeeeeek! *shudders*

#5 Posted by efrucht (639 posts) -

aww how cute

#6 Posted by stAtic (1638 posts) -

So... Is it edible?

#7 Posted by Bnfbnggbfg (302 posts) -

Nobody cares about tiny snakes. People care about ones that can swallow a horse whole.

#8 Posted by Patchinko (841 posts) -
brukaoru said:
"The size of a quarter... Omg... It could crawl in my ears... Eeeeeek! *shudders*
"

Yeah... or your nose! It might be in your bowl of ramen and you'd never even know it until it was too late!

Speaking of that... wonder how tasty they are?
#9 Posted by Dissolve (375 posts) -

A sensible meal for Big Boss.

#10 Posted by Pleasureizmine (2136 posts) -

LOL i would floss with that then bite its head off like bear would

#11 Posted by clarke0 (1077 posts) -
"this new species of snake might become extinct only months after it was discovered."

Well that sucks. :(
#12 Posted by Virago (2486 posts) -

I love snakes.

#13 Posted by brukaoru (5079 posts) -
Patchinko said:
"brukaoru said:
"The size of a quarter... Omg... It could crawl in my ears... Eeeeeek! *shudders*"

Yeah... or your nose! It might be in your bowl of ramen and you'd never even know it until it was too late!

Speaking of that... wonder how tasty they are? "
Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. What are you trying to do? Stop me from eating ever again?!
#14 Posted by Patchinko (841 posts) -
brukaoru said:
"Patchinko said:
"brukaoru said:
"The size of a quarter... Omg... It could crawl in my ears... Eeeeeek! *shudders*"

Yeah... or your nose! It might be in your bowl of ramen and you'd never even know it until it was too late!

Speaking of that... wonder how tasty they are? "
Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. What are you trying to do? Stop me from eating ever again?!
"
If Naked Snake taught me anything, it's that tiny snakes are probably delicious (but probably don't recover very much stamina).
#15 Posted by Clean (2356 posts) -

that thang looks like a worm but congrats to whoever discovered that

#16 Posted by brukaoru (5079 posts) -
Patchinko said:
"If Naked Snake taught me anything, it's that tiny snakes are probably delicious (but probably don't recover very much stamina)."
The snake in that picture looks like the same type of snake that would cause Big Boss to get poisoned... Did he also teach you how to go into your "Cure" menu to heal yourself?
#17 Posted by Patchinko (841 posts) -
brukaoru said:
"Patchinko said:
"If Naked Snake taught me anything, it's that tiny snakes are probably delicious (but probably don't recover very much stamina)."
The snake in that picture looks like the same type of snake that would cause Big Boss to get poisoned... Did he also teach you how to go into your "Cure" menu to heal yourself?
"
 
Yeah, well, he did also teach me that I can eat rotten food, break bones, get shot numerous times with poisoned crossbow darts and fix it all with a knife, bandage, styptic, stitches, digestive medicine and an antidote in under five seconds.

That man was a true genius.
#18 Posted by Canadian (384 posts) -
Virago said:
"I love snakes."
...that's what she said.
#19 Posted by Shocker (2339 posts) -

Damn, that thing is tiny. And it does look like a worm kinda.

#20 Posted by Patchinko (841 posts) -

Yeah, I would definitely think worm at first glance.

#21 Posted by Ultimate_pwr_rngr (774 posts) -

women like big snakes

#22 Posted by Jayge_ (10221 posts) -

That thing is adorable XD I would buy like 10 of them and put them in a glass habitat thing.

#23 Posted by brukaoru (5079 posts) -
Patchinko said:
"Yeah, well, he did also teach me that I can eat rotten food, break bones, get shot numerous times with poisoned crossbow darts and fix it all with a knife, bandage, styptic, stitches, digestive medicine and an antidote in under five seconds.

That man was a true genius."
Well you know, he did have help from a certain Para-Medic ;)
#24 Posted by Jolly_Lolly (3537 posts) -

I'd laugh if they turned out to be the most poisonous out of all.

#25 Posted by Dakota (248 posts) -

Neato! Thanks for sharing.

#26 Posted by TwoOneFive (9459 posts) -

lol if i was fishin and seen that, i'd put the hook right through and use it as bait thinkin it was a meal worm

#27 Posted by Standing_Gopher (129 posts) -

Haha, wow.

#28 Posted by Magnum (349 posts) -

Damn it even that little bastard freaks me the eff out. God I hate snakes.

#29 Posted by Batman (1016 posts) -
Fr0Br0 said:
"I would think that's a worm if I ever saw it.
"
Yeah same here.
#30 Posted by Systech (4078 posts) -

Can someone say "Metal Gear Smallest"?

#31 Posted by Shawn (3825 posts) -

I wonder if lizards eat it.

#32 Posted by serbsta (1867 posts) -

Wow, thats pretty neat.

#33 Posted by sculsoldi3r (1315 posts) -

Thats not a snake, its Mr.Woo's dick

#34 Posted by semicolon1twlev2 (894 posts) -

A snorm!

Or a wake.

#35 Posted by Riddler (1528 posts) -

thats a worm

#36 Posted by The_Beast (41 posts) -

cool....ill pay 2,000 snakes for that car!!!

#37 Posted by Tomzombie6 (81 posts) -

wicked, creepy

#38 Posted by Wheatley (63 posts) -

thats way bigger then my penis

#39 Posted by Patchinko (841 posts) -
dreDREb13 said:
"A snorm!"
SNORM!
#40 Posted by brukaoru (5079 posts) -

o_O Nice photoshop work.

#41 Posted by Patchinko (841 posts) -

Never saw Cheers!, huh?

Man I'm old.

#42 Posted by brukaoru (5079 posts) -
Patchinko said:
"Never saw Cheers!, huh?

Man I'm old."
No way, I love Cheers, great show!
#43 Posted by MoldOnHold (627 posts) -
Fr0Br0 said:
"I would think that's a worm if I ever saw it.
"
This.
#44 Posted by Jayge_ (10221 posts) -

Man, am I the only one who wants some of the little guys as pets?

#45 Posted by lilarchie232 (728 posts) -

I heard this on NPR, the snakes cool.

#46 Posted by Loki81 (16 posts) -

I have those in my back yard. I live in texas, looks like the exact same snake.

#47 Posted by Doc_Zaius (119 posts) -

that is as cute as a bug's ear.  I want one!

#48 Posted by Jolly_Lolly (3537 posts) -

So they're not poisonous?

:(

#49 Posted by OGCartman (4354 posts) -

Holy shit, thats freaky, that could go in my food, on my boddy

#50 Posted by twenty0ne (3071 posts) -

Wow, looks more like a worm to me.