Burmese Vine Snakes Feeding at the California Academy of Sciences

I find the music in this video to be completely appropriate.

Below the fold is a description the nice communications lady at the CA Academy sent me...interesting stuff. By the way, if you haven't been to the California Academy of Sciences you are missing out on one of the most state of the art museums in the world.

"At feeding time in the California Academy of Sciences' vine snake exhibit, one blink and you might miss the action. These pencil-thin snakes hunt fish swimming in the water below, striking with lightning speed. We recently captured a feeding on film (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1R6TIocCpY), and I thought you might be interested in sharing it with your blog readers. A piscivorous arboreal (fish-eating and tree-dwelling) snake is extremely rare, and the Academy was the first aquarium in the world to display this species, thanks to our ongoing research on the reptiles and amphibians of Myanmar. A contingent of Academy researchers just returned from Myanmar in November, and are gearing up to go again in April 2010- this time to the Tanintharyi Division. Here is some more background on that research and how we came to have this unique display:

Myanmar and its Southeast Asian neighbors have been designated as one of the world's 34 biodiversity hotspots. As such, the country exerts an irresistible pull on Academy scientists. Over the course of 13 years and 24 expeditions to Myanmar (the most recent of which just returned in November 2009), researchers at the California Academy of Sciences have discovered and described 23 new species of reptiles & amphibians, with an additional 50 awaiting formal description. Along with data that aid conservation efforts, sometimes scientists come back with other surprises. During a 2000 expedition, the team collected a group of Burmese vine snakes (Ahaetulla fronticincta)--pencil-thin tree-dwelling snakes that mimic vines--and brought them back to the Academy's Steinhart Aquarium with the goal of displaying them for the public.

So little was known about these snakes that when they first arrived, aquarium biologists were unsure what or how to feed them. As an experiment, they introduced guppies into the snakes' holding tank. The snakes immediately took notice, slithering into position with gazes fixed on the water. When an unsuspecting guppy swam to within striking distance--bam! One of the snakes flung its head into the water and grabbed the prey in a single, blink-and-you'll-miss-it motion. The biologists had figured out how to feed them. To date, the Academy is the only aquarium in the world to have this species on display. Visitors to the Academy can find the snakes in the Water Planet exhibit.

The Academy research team plans to return to the Tanintharyi Division of Myanmar in April 2010. As they continue to find and document species in this Southeast Asian country, Academy researchers are building a model of scientific discovery and conservation for biodiversity hotspots around the world. When they started in 1997, approximately 350 reptile and amphibian species were known in Myanmar. When all is done, they estimate that the final total will be close to 500--not bad for a country the size of Texas. By comparison, the entire continental United States has approximately 460 species of reptiles and amphibians."

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Cool stuff!

And as usual after a visit to your website, I leave reminded how glad I am that I'm unlikely to be eaten alive (provided I pay attention to the posted bear and catamount warning signs).

I was torn between watching the snake eat the fish and the guy watching the snake eat the fish.

I had originally planned to spend the day visiting both the Academy of Sciences and the De Young museum across the street, because the De Young has a luscious retrospective exhibit of Yves Saint Laurent fashions, 130 garments! But I spent so much time at the academy that I would have only had an hour or two left for the De Young, which is a waste.

academic work should allocate more resources for countries in the world armaments instead allocate this kind of work they