Changing Planet

Vietnam’s Rhino Ratsnake Hatched in a European Zoo for the First Time


Keepers capture the moment a rhino ratsnake (Rhynchophis boulengeri) emerges from its shell at ZSL London Zoo — the first time this species of snake has been bred in a European Zoo.

ZSL London Zoo’s Reptile House produced a clutch of eight snakes, three of which have been exchanged with other European zoos in a program to increase the captive population of this species, which originates from the mountains of Vietnam.

The reptiles, which are often nicknamed “green unicorns” because of their hornlike features, will turn green when they reach around one year of age. They will reach about 40 inches (one meter) long and feed on geckos, frogs, and rodents.

Note: I will be adding photos from zoos to my blog from time to time. Zoos play a vital role in teaching urban people about animals and nature, which hopefully will encourage support for conservation of the same species in the wild. Increasingly, zoos are also serving as arks to shelter endangered species from the global extinction crisis.

Photos by Ferry van Stralen/Courtesy ZSL London Zoo

Forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. He has 120,000 followers on social media. David Braun edits the National Geographic Society blog, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and initiatives. He also directs the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, awarded to Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience. Follow David on Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn

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