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 Landmark Credit Union Fall Edition
Top 10 Fastest Mammals
2Pronghorn antelope5589
3Mongolian gazelle5080
5Grant's gazelle4776
Thomson's gazelle4776
7Brown hare4572
Red deer4268

Quick off the mark . . .

The speedy cheetah can accelerate to 60 mph (96 km/h) in just three seconds.

Pronghorn antelopes are reported to run 30-40 miles per hour over long distances. In a great burst of speed, a pronghorn may exceed 50 miles per hour.

The Mongolian Gazelles main predators are wolves, lynx, dogs and man.

Springboks jump up and down like bouncing balls, stretching their front and rear legs simultaneously and bending their heads down.

Top 10 Longest Snakes
1Reticulated python3510.7
3Indian python257.6
Diamond python216.4
5King cobra195.8
Boa constrictor164.9
8Giant brown snake113.4
9Diamondback rattlesnake92.7
Indigo snake82.4

What do snakes eat?

Snakes eat all sorts of things. Yellow rat snakes, which live in trees, eat birds, birds' eggs, and small mammals they find on the ground. Swamp-dwelling snakes, such as the South American anaconda, snack mostly on fish, but can gobble up a sheep that ventures too close to the water's edge. Some snakes, such as the king snake, even eat poisonous snakes. They can do this because they are immune to other snakes' venom.

Snakes often eat prey larger than themselves. This isn't because their appetites are bigger than their stomachs. Their jaws are held together by an elastic ligament that can stretch and stretch to cover their prey the same way a sock slides over a foot.

When a snake eats an egg, which it love to do, it first curls around it so that the egg won't roll away. Then the snake opens its jaws and moves the egg into its throats, where sharp spines pierce it and neck muscles squeeze it until it collapses. Once the egg is in its stomach, the snake spits out the empty eggshell. Large snakes, such as constrictors and anacondas, eat pigs in the same way, although they usually will only eat dead pigs. When finished, they spit out the big bones.

Why do snakes shed their skin?

As a snake grows, its skin gets tighter and tighter. To rid itself of its uncomfortably tight girdle, the snake grows a new skin underneath and, when it's ready, slithers out of the old. Younger snakes may shed their skins three or more times a year, whereas older snakes, once they have stopped growing, rarely shed their skins at all.

What is venom? What does it do to people?

There are two kinds of venom, and both are very harmful. One, called neurotoxin, affects a victim's nervous system. Any creatures bitten by cobras or sea snakes get a dose of neurotoxin. This acts on their central nervous system and prevents messages from being sent from their brains to various parts of their bodies. Because their lungs are no longer being told to breathe, the victims die of suffocation.

The other kind of venom, called hemotoxin, works on the bloodstream, causing the blood to coagulate and stop flowing.

Why do snakes stick out their tongues? Do they bite with them?

Forget everything you know about tongues when you think about snakes. A snake isn't being rude when it sticks out its tongue, nor is it licking or tasting. So what good is the tongue? A snake darts its tongue in and out through a hole in its upper jaw to pick up particles in the air to take them to two small cavities in the roof of the snake's mouth. From here, the scent of the particles wafts up to the snake's Jacobson's organ which is above the roof of its mouth. The Jacobson's organ helps the snake know what it is smelling.

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