Science 19 Jan 2020 Climate change alter ...

Climate change alters body clock of snakes

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | T.S.S. SIDDHARTH
Published Jan 19, 2020, 1:42 am IST
Updated Jan 19, 2020, 8:46 am IST
Reptiles unusually looking for mates in winter
Since the city’s temperature has been warmer over the last few days the reptiles are coming out in the open to soak in the heat, he said.
 Since the city’s temperature has been warmer over the last few days the reptiles are coming out in the open to soak in the heat, he said.

Hyderabad: Snakes are beginning to show the stress of climate change in a year that saw topsy-turvy weather. This, experts and herpetologists alike, say is due to the systemic destruction of their natural habitat coupled with varying weather.

The sudden change in the climate — unseasonal rainfall and a warm winter — has forced snakes to come out during the winter in search of mates to procreate.

 

“It is a common phenomena to see snakes out of their shelters due to construction activity, but sighting them in such high numbers is unusual. These reptiles are ecotherms, they depend on external sources of heat to maintain their body temperature,” Mr Avinash Viswanathan, general secretary, Frie-nds of Snakes Society, told Deccan Chronicle.

Since the city’s temperature has been warmer over the last few days the reptiles are coming out in the open to soak in the heat, he said.

Maybe that is what is responsible for the 6,500 and more sighting of snakes in the state in the last year.
Over the last year,  there has been a prolonged summer coupled with a long monsoon. This, experts say, has caused confusion in the reptiles’ body clock.

They are supposed to begin breeding during the onset of summer. But, since the city has had no winter and the temperature is rising the snakes are roaming around in search of mates. “Usually, snakes like cobras or the Russell’s viper come out before the onset of summer to breed. If there is a sudden downpour like we witnessed in November, then the snakes start breeding as their body-clock goes topsy-turvy,” he said.

The lack of a drop in the mercury levels could have led the snakes to assume summer was approaching.

“The variation in temperature has a created a lot of confusion in these reptiles,” said Mr Vishwanathan.

Seconding this claim, animal rights activists from the Animal Rehabilitation and Protection Front, say that snakes are coming out in the open because of the lack of habitation.

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Location: India, Telangana, Hyderabad




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