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Ordinary Natrix natrix

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In Russia, there was a belief about the kingdom of snakes, headed by the supper king, who wears a crown with precious stones. And if someone kills the snake, then the king of the avenger avenges it, sending all kinds of misfortunes to the offender. However, in our time it is often necessary to deal with cases of vandalism in relation to snakes, although in the XIX century in the villages of the Kazan province snakes were kept instead of cats for catching mice.

Common is already found in fairly humid places (in coastal reeds, in floodplain meadows, in swamps and in wet ravines near springs). He swims and dives well. In the mountains rises to a height of 2300 m above sea level. It is usual near human habitation: in sheds and piles of garbage, crevices of wooden buildings, haystacks, in cellars and under the porch of country houses. Sometimes it also occurs in gardens and vegetable gardens, forest-park zone of large cities. Already active in the daytime. At night, hiding under stones, tree roots, in the burrows of rodents. It feeds on amphibians, lizards, chicks of birds, rodents and fish, swallowing them alive. He is able to do without food for up to 420 days. In a stressful state, belches swallowed prey.

The period of activity lasts from mid-March to October-November. The snakes winter under the roots, in the cracks of the coastal cliffs, in the burrows of rodents.

Mating takes place in April-May. During this period, the snakes form clusters consisting of one female and about 20 males. Females lay 4 to 50 (rarely 105) eggs in July-August. Sometimes there are the so-called collective masonry, in which there can be up to 3000 eggs. Maturity occurs in the 3-4th year of life.

It flees from enemies or takes a defensive position: folds the body in a zigzag, hissing and rhythmically twitching the tip of the tail (simulating the protective behavior of a viper). Captured by a predator, it secretes liquid from the cloacal glands, which has a repulsive odor. The most original defensive reaction is “imaginary death”: the snake flips onto its back and does not respond to touch.

The body of an ordinary snake is massive, up to 2.05 m (usually less than 1 m) in length. The tail, as a rule, does not exceed 40 cm. Cervical interception is clearly visible. The pupil is round.

From above this view is painted in grayish-olive or brownish-black shades. Sometimes black spots or transverse stripes are visible on the back. In the occipital region on the sides of the head is a pair of white or yellowish neck spots, usually in a black frame. The scutellar subspecies is distinguished by bright orange temporal spots without a black border and a very dark coloration of the back, and the Persian one by two bright lines along the back. In the region of the Sumbar and Rubas (Dagestan) rivers, the external features of these two subspecies overlap. Often, the light edges of individual dorsal scales form a rather mottled net pattern. The belly is white or gray with black spots. Labrum with black stripe along the front edge. The iris is yellow. Black individuals (melanists) are also found.

Ordinary already has 153-193 abdominal and 50-89 caudal flaps, the anal flap is divided. Internasal and intermaxillary scutes are trapezoidal in shape.

Distribution and Subspecies

Common already found almost throughout Europe. To the east, its range reaches northeastern Mongolia. Distinguish up to 15 under species. In Russia, most of the country is occupied by a nominative subspecies. From the Volga region, Ciscaucasia and the Black Sea coast to Southern Kazakhstan, in the Urals, in Siberia and Buryatia, a shield-shaped already lives. Persian is already widespread in the Balkans, in Asia Minor, the Eastern Ciscaucasia (Southern Dagestan, and possibly southern Kalmykia), Eastern and Southern Transcaucasia, and the wound and South-Western Turkmenistan. Isolated finds of this subspecies are found in the Crimea.

Differences from related species

The ordinary differs from all European ones already by 19 rows of keeled body scales, from water snake by the presence of temporal spots, the absence of an Λ-shaped occipital stripe, the color of the abdomen and the shape of the internasal scutes, and from the Colchis one by the smooth surface of the head scutes, a narrower head and body color .

Description and distribution

Ordinary already (Natrix natrix) - a rather large snake: usually reaches a length of 80-90 cm (sometimes up to 200 cm). Ordinary is very widespread in Europe, with the exception of Ireland, the northern part of Great Britain, the northern part of the Scandinavian peninsula at 67 ° C. sh., as well as in northwestern Africa and western Asia to northwestern Mongolia, southern eastern Siberia, and the adjacent regions of northern China in the east and southwestern Iran in the south. Externally, ordinary snakes are usually easily distinguished from other snakes by “yellow ears” - pronounced marks on the head, often yellow, but sometimes white and orange. Fundamental differences in the size and color of males and females do not exist. In males, the tail is long with a characteristic thickening at the base, it is cylindrical from the anus, then passes into a cone. In females, the tail is shorter, without thickening at the base, conical.

Lifestyle

These snakes are characterized by a wide variety of biotopes. They live in places one way or another connected with water, along the banks of rivers, lakes, ponds, in floodplain meadows, in reed beds, tugai, swamps, mountain streams, near springs (up to 2500 m asl rises into the mountains ), on the coast and islands. This non-toxic snake can live in the immediate vicinity of humans, within cities and towns, in fields with crops, in gardens, parks, gardens, cellars, sheds, haystacks, and heaps of garbage. Already swims and dives beautifully, including in sea water. He leads a land-based lifestyle, active during the day and at dusk. As shelters, snakes usually use rodent burrows, deadwood, piles of stones.

Ordinary already - a predator. It hunts for different small living creatures, giving particular preference to frogs and toads. In rare cases, it can feast on fish, do not disdain small warm-blooded, mainly mouse-like rodents. Having caught the victim, he swallows it whole.

Breeding

The mating season begins at an ordinary snake in April-May. During mating, the snakes often form clusters of several tens of individuals. In early summer, females lay their eggs, for which they are looking for moist warm places, somehow rotten stumps, heaps of humus, foliage, and straw. Collective masonry is known, laid in one of the most favorable places by several females, in this place you can find up to 1200 eggs. Winters already, hiding in suitable cracks in the ground, cracks, hollows, holes where it falls into suspended animation. The life span of an ordinary snake is up to 20 years.

Already ordinary: description

This reptile is a family of "already-born", while differing from their snake relatives in the presence of a kind of yellow "ears", which represent marks located closer to the neck. The color of these marks can be lemon, orange, off-white or almost invisible.

As a rule, adults grow up to 1 meter in length, although there are individual specimens, the length of which reaches almost 2 meters. Males are much smaller than females. The head of an ordinary snake differs by a noticeable separation from the body, while its tail is almost 5 times less than the body length.

The upper part of the reptile's body can have a dark gray, brown or olive color, on which you can notice a dark pattern made in a “checkerboard” order. The lower part of the body is painted in lighter shades of light gray or off-white, with a dark longitudinal strip passing through the center. Individual individuals are characterized by the fact that such a strip extends throughout the entire lower part of the body. Among these reptiles, one can find both albinos and melanists.

Similarity to vipers

It is natural that many do not know how to distinguish a snake from a viper, therefore they take it for a poisonous snake.

Interesting to know! In fact, there is very little in common between snake and viper. Firstly, they may have a similar living space associated with ponds, forest stands and just lawns, and secondly, like many vipers, they try to avoid meeting people.

Among other things, vipers are more aggressive and can attack a person if they don’t like something.

Characteristic differences include:

  • The viper has a shorter body compared to snake, and the transition from the body to the tail is not so smooth.
  • Yellow spots can be seen on the head of the snake, and a zigzag strip runs along the back of the viper.
  • The head shape of the snake is oval and more ovate, while the viper has a triangular head shape and looks more like a spear point.
  • Snakes have no poisonous fangs.
  • In snakes, the pupils of the eyes are arranged vertically or have a round shape, while in the viper they are arranged horizontally in the form of sticks.
  • Snakes love to eat frogs, and vipers prefer rodents more.

There are other differences, but they are not worth mentioning, since it is very difficult for a layman to figure this out, especially in extreme conditions when there is a chance of a snake attack.

Natural habitats

The habitat of these reptiles is wide, especially since it includes northern latitudes, up to the Arctic Circle, not to mention the southern latitudes, where the habitat of the snake reaches almost to the Sahara. If we talk about the western and eastern borders, they pass along the British Isles and the Iberian Peninsula, as well as the central territories of Mongolia and Transbaikalia, respectively.

The snakes quite easily adapt to different living conditions. Most importantly, there should be a reservoir of any origin nearby, preferably with standing or weakly flowing water.

These reptiles can be found without problems in meadows, in forest thickets, in the steppes, in swamps, in river floodplains, within urban wastelands, in parks, gardens, and also in mountainous terrain.

They often settle in cities and like to bask on the asphalt, which is why they often find themselves under the wheels of vehicles. This factor has a decisive influence on the total number of snakes living in densely populated areas. As for the global scale, the number of snakes is sufficient so that they are not worried.

How many lives

As for snakes, the life expectancy of this family is quite impressive and averages 20 years, or even more. The main condition is the presence of water, because it is not in vain that its scientific name corresponds to the Latin "natrix", which means "swimmer".

Interesting Facts! They drink a lot of water and love to take water procedures, carrying out long-distance swims just like that, aimlessly. As a rule, they move along a body of water along the coastline, with individual individuals seen even in the open sea or at a considerable distance from the shore of large bodies of water. This distance can be tens of kilometers.

Natural enemies

For snakes, it is very important to hide in shelter in time after sunset. When the body is already cooling down, it ceases to be active and cannot escape its various enemies. The natural enemies of the ordinary can be considered:

  • Various predatory animals, including fox and hedgehog.
  • Up to 40 species of large birds, including stork and heron.
  • Rodents such as rats.
  • Amphibians, including frogs and toads.
  • Trout, which will not give up young individuals.
  • Ground beetles and ants that destroy egg clutches.

Having met one-on-one with his enemy, he already begins to hiss and flatten the neck area to seem like a poisonous snake. At the same time, his body is arranged in the form of a zigzag, and the tail twitches nervously. There is a second option, more obvious when it is trying to avoid such a meeting, striking into flight.

An interesting moment! If he is in the clutches of a predator or in the hands of a person, he will try to pretend to be dead or begin to secrete a stinky substance.

For supper it is very important to have good shelter, which is so lacking. In this regard, snakes use various objects of human economic activity. They settle in houses and other outbuildings, as well as in compost heaps and garbage cans.

What eats

The basis of the diet of an ordinary snake is fish and frogs, although he can gladly expand his diet if possible by:

  • Tritons.
  • Toad.
  • Lizards.
  • Chicks dropped out of nests.
  • Newborn baby water rat.
  • Insects and their larvae.

Snakes never eat carrion and do not eat plant components, but they drink milk with pleasure if they find themselves in an artificial environment.

Hunting fish in the water, it freezes and waits for them to swim as close as possible, after which they attack them with lightning speed. Frogs can already be chased, both in water and on land, while the frogs do not try to bounce to a safe distance, believing that it is not dangerous for them.

The reptile swallows the caught fish without much effort, but the frog still has to tinker with if it is not possible to immediately grab it by the head. Often this process takes several hours, because the frog sometimes breaks out of a deadly embrace, but it grabs it again and the process continues. After the frog is inside the snake, he goes on vacation, because this dish is enough for him for almost a week. It should be noted that without food it can be for months.

An important point! The German naturalist subjected the "terrible" test to no one, preventing him from eating for 10 months. After this period, he fed his experimental subject, while he did not notice any problems with the functioning of the digestive tract.

Content of snake at home

The snakes easily get used to the conditions of bondage, are easily tamed and do not require special conditions of detention. For home maintenance you will need a terrarium measuring 50x40x40 cm, as well as some equipment in the form of:

  • Thermo-mat for heating one of the corners up to 30-33 degrees.
  • Gravel, paper or coconut for the substrate.
  • Shelters in a warm corner to maintain humidity.
  • The usual shelter in a cold corner.
  • A suitable container with water, since it is already necessary to swim a lot, as well as soak before molting, well, and drink.
  • UV lamps, as a source of daylight.

When it is sunny outside, the terrarium should not be additionally highlighted. The diet should consist of live small fish and frogs. If they do not show signs of life, then they can refuse food.

An important point! Some owners manage to teach snakes to eat defrosted foods. Feed reptiles need not more than 2 times a week, and large individuals not more than 1 time. It is advisable to introduce mineral nutrition in food. Instead of ordinary water, you can use mineral water, while the water needs to be changed every day.

If necessary, then you can put it into hibernation, which will positively affect his health. To do this, reduce the time of lighting and heating from 12 to 4 hours. After lowering the temperature to 10-12 degrees, as well as the lack of lighting, the reptile falls into hibernation.

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