- Title: GERMANY: BERLIN ZOO PROUDLY ANNOUNCES RECENT BIRTH OF BABY RATTLESNAKES
- Date: 3rd May 2003
- Summary: SLATE INFORMATION
- Embargoed: 18th May 2003 13:00
- Location: BERLIN, GERMANY
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Environment,Quirky,Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVA2KRQQP4V835ABYWTB6IDY78P4
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- Story Text: The Berlin Zoo has proudly announced the recent birth of some of the world's most poisonous snakes.
Eighteen tropical rattlesnakes were shown off at Berlin's Zoologischer Garten zoo on Saturday (May 3, 2003), one month after they were born.
"Rattlesnakes are among the most poisonous snakes,"
zookeeper Bodo Vogt told Reuters Television as he was holding three of the 30-centimetre-long babies on a stick, at a safe distance from his body.
"When they are born they are just as poisonous as their parents," Vogt said of the snakes which originate in South America.
Baby tropical rattlesnakes are born with tiny but effective teeth.
"The poisonous system is already fully developed and the baby snakes are actually even more poisonous than the parents because of a larger concentration of poison."
According to zookeeper Vogt, snake experts distinguish between two groups of poison.
"The neurotoxic (poison) destroys the central nerve system and the haemotoxic poison destroys the red blood cells. This snake has both types of poison and that's why a bite from this snake causes great damage."
Contrary to most other types of snakes which lay eggs, tropical rattlesnakes are born alive after the babies leave the protective egg shell inside the mothers womb shortly before birth.
The Berlin rattlesnake babies will remain in the German capital for three to four more months before they will find new homes at other zoos.
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