Reptiles

species, sea, tail, tr, serpents, snakes and sluggish

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What the nature of this acid may be, it was impossible to determine from the small quantity operated upon ; nor was Dr. Cantor prepared to say that the poison itself is an acid, although, if it be not so, it is certainly associated with one. The poison itself probably consists of some com pound, which would be wholly disorganized under any attempts at detection by chemical means.

The II ydrophidx are a family of Sea - snakes. The sea-snakes are inhabitants of the tropical parts of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, extending from the coast of Madagascar to the Isthmus of Panama ; they are most numerous in the East Indian Archipelago, and in the seas between Southern China and North Australia, being re presented on the outskirts of the geographical range we have mentioned by only one species, and that the most common, viz. Pelamis bicolor. The most striking, feature in the organiza tion of the sea-snakes is their elevated and com pressed tail, the processes of the caudal vertebrm being much prolonged and styliform. The food of the sea-snakes consists entirely of small fish ; all the species are viviparous, bringing forth, without leaving the sea, from four to nine young ones. They have very formidable and very numerous enemies in the sea eagles (Halimtus), in the sharks, and other large raptorial fishes. There is no other group of reptiles, the species of which are so little known and the synonymy of which is so confused, as that of the sea, serpents. Our present knowledge of the geographical distri bution of most of the species is extremely vague.

The Crotalidx are a family of Pit Vipers. The pit vipers are found only in Asia and America ; those of the New World surpassing the Asiatic species in size, and therefore they are much more dangerous.

The Trirneresures are Tree Snakes, as is indicated by their prehensile tail and by their green or varied coloration. In general they are sluggish, not attempting to move out of the way ; and as they very closely resemble the branch on which they rest, they are frequently not perceived until they prepare to dart, vibrating the tail and uttering a faint hissing sound, or until they have bitten the disturber of their rest. The bite of larc,er speci mens, from 2 to 3 feet long, is more cfangerous, and has occasionally proved fatal. When roused,

these snakes are extremely fierce, striking at everything within their reach ; and Cantor says that in the extreme of fury they Nvill fix the fangs in their own bodies.

Trigounceplialus Sumatranus, Raffles. In Malayan countries this variety is not of so rarc occurrence RS the species appears to be in Sumatra. Tr. puniceus is in general sluggish, but when roused is of ferocious habits ; Tr. gramineus, Tr. Sumat satins, and Tr. puniceus resemble the genus Bun garus ; their mode of attack is also similar ; like Vipera RusselHi, Shaw, when it prepares to dart, they vibrate the prehensile tail, and utter a faint hissing sound. As the pupil if3 vertically con tracted by the light, they frequently miss their aim, and, like Bungarus, Naja, Vipera Rinsellii, and Ilydrus, in the extreme of fury they Nvill fix the fangs in their own bodies. In Bengal, most ten.estrial serpents keep to the water during the hot season, but the mins send them abroad in search of dry localities. Although this genus has venomous organs as highly developed as Crotalus or Vipera, the effects produced by wounds of two species at least appear to be less dangerous.

Hydras schistosus is incredibly numerous in the Bay of Bengal, at Penang, and Singapore, far more so than any known terrestrial ser pent. The fishing-nets are hardly ever worked but that one or more are among the cont,ents. The large individuals are very ferocious ; the young ones are less so. Fortunately for the fishermen, the light blinds these serpents, which when out of their proper element become very sluggish and soon expire. This accounts for the safety of the class of men whose daily calling brings them in immediate contact with animals the wound of which is fatal. The fishermen in the Straits of Malacca are aware of their danger, and therefore take care to avoid or destroy these reptiles while landing the fishes. The 3falays denominate them Ular Laut, i.e. serpents of the sea ; among which, 'however, the innocuous Acrochordus granulatus, Schneider, is also com prised as an inhabitant of the coasts.

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