David and Jean Hosl<ing
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www.harpercollins.co.uk First published in 1995
Revised edition 2006 Copyright © Chris Mattison 1995
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Source ISBN: 9780007211708
Ebook Edition © JULY 2017 ISBN: 9780007555260
The snakes of the world are grouped into 18 families, each containing from one to about 1700 species. Species in the same family are closely related to each other and less closely related to species in other families. Three families comprise small thread-like burrowing snakes that are rarely seen, and these are grouped together in this book. Another family contains two rare snakes known only from a couple of specimens each and details are lacking. Otherwise, each family is represented here by at least one species, with the oldest families first and the most recently evolved ones last. Within each family, the species are listed
in alphabetical order of the scientific names; this keeps similar species together and avoids confusion where a species has more than one common name.
Blind Snakes and Thread Snakes (Anomalepididae, Typhlopidae and Leptotyphlopidae) (See here) are small burrowing snakes, rarely seen on the surface. They are restricted to warmer tropical and subtropical regions. One species is found in south-east Europe.
Dwarf Pipe Snakes (Anomochilidae) are two species of secretive burrowing
snakes from South-east Asia. They have cylindrical bodies and smooth, shiny scales. Very rare and poorly known.
Shield-tailed Snakes (Uropeltidae). Mostly small species, many of which have strange shield-shaped scales at the tip of their tails. Burrowing snakes with cylindrical bodies and smooth shiny scales. They occur in southern India and Sri Lanka.
Asian Pipe Snakes (Cylindrophiidae). Cylindrical burrowing snakes with short tails and smooth scales from Sri Lanka and South-east Asia.
Red (South American) Pipe Snake
(Aniliidae) (See here) is the only
member of its family and is found in northern South America.
Asian Sunbeam Snakes (Xenopeltidae) (See here) are two Asian species with smooth, highly iridescent scales.
Central American Sunbeam Snake (Mexican Burrowing Snake) (Loxocemidae) (See here) is the only member of its family and comes from Central America.
Boas (Boidae). Small, medium, and very large snakes occurring in South and Central America, Africa, Madagascar, and Asia, including the Southwest Pacific region. They live in burrows, on the ground, and in trees. Powerful
constrictors that have live young.
Pythons (Pythonidae). Many large snakes as well as medium-sized ones, from Africa, Asia and Australasia. They live on the ground and in trees. Powerful constrictors that lay eggs.
Round Island Boas (Bolyeriidae) (See here) are found only on Mauritius and adjacent islands in the Indian Ocean. There is one surviving species and one other that is probably extinct.
Wood Snakes or West Indian Dwarf Boas
(Tropidophiidae) (See here) are found in the West Indies, with a few species in Central and South America.
File Snakes (Acrochordidae) (See here) are completely aquatic species found in fresh and marine waters in Asia and Australasia.
Typical harmless and back-fanged snakes (Colubridae) (See here) include three-fifths of all snakes. They are found throughout the world except for the coldest regions and a few small islands. There is great variation in their shapes and sizes and some species are venomous.
Vipers and Pit Vipers (Viperidae) (See here) are venomous snakes with long, hinged fangs. They are found in most parts of the world except Australasia and Madagascar.
Stiletto Snakes and Burrowing Asps (Atractaspidae) (See here) are poorly known burrowing snakes, some of which are venomous. They are found in Africa and the Middle East.
Cobras, Mambas, Kraits, Coral Snakes and Sea Snakes
(Elapidae) (See here) are all venomous snakes. They are found throughout most of the warmer parts of the world except Europe and Madagascar.