The top five snakes spotted near residences in Taipei are the pointed-scaled pit viper, the Lycodon rufozonatum, the square-headed cat snake, the oriental ratsnake and the stink snake, Taipei Zoo said on Friday, adding that the reptiles usually approach residences to hunt for rodents.
Four of the snakes are known to consume rodents, the zoo said, adding that only the pointed-scaled pit viper is venomous.
The zoo urged people to avoid places that snakes frequent when the weather is warm, as winter in Taiwan is not cold enough to send snakes into hibernation.
Photo courtesy of Taipei Zoo
Snakes have slow metabolisms and do not need to feed frequently, but people should still avoid places where they are likely to search for prey, such as where frogs live, it said.
People should also keep their homes and surroundings clean to avoid attracting rodents, which would decrease the likelihood of snakes entering their residences, the zoo said.
If they encounter a snake, people should stay calm and call their local animal protection office to seek help, it added.
Photo courtesy of Taipei Zoo
Hikers should use a stick to stir the bushes or long grass before walking in to scare off snakes, the zoo said.
Snakes in Taiwan are relatively passive and would not attack humans on sight, it said.
Maintaining a safe distance and refraining from disturbing or trying to capture a snake is the best way to avoid a snakebite, it said.
In related news, two cotton-top tamarins that were born at the zoo have turned one month old, the zoo said.
The primates were born shortly before the Lunar New Year’s Eve in the zoo’s Tropical Rainforest House (Pangolin Dome), it said.
Prior to the birth, the parents were the only two cotton-top tamarins at the zoo, it added.
The animals are now enjoying family time, with the parents teaching the twins crucial survival skills in the rainforest habitat, including climbing, jumping and moving between branches, said a zookeeper who declined to be named.
As the enclosure replicates the primates’ natural habitat, crawling has not been an effortless task for the newborns, with the twins spending several days practicing their crawl, the zookeeper said.
A fully grown cotton-top tamarin typically weights between 250g and 350g, and measures 20cm to 25cm in length, the zookeeper said.
The zoo urged visitors to the habitat to keep their voices low when speaking and stay at a safe distance not to disturb the twins.
Cotton-top tamarins are diurnal and omnivorous, and are characterized by thick white crest on top of their head, according to the zoo’s Web site.
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