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A female worker is finishing a giant dragon-shaped figure in a factory dedicated to the creation of spectacular lanterns for the Chinese New Year celebrations.

According to the Chinese calendar, the new year begins today, marking the beginning of the Serpent's year. The Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, falls on the day of the second new moon after the winter solstice. This happens because the Chinese calendar is lunisolar, that is, the months begin with each new moon. As a result, the start date of the first month of the year, ie the New Year, can vary by around 29 days compared to the Gregorian calendar, falling between January 21 and February 19.

For the next 15 days in China and in every Chinese community around the world, the celebrations for the new year will take place, which will end at the traditional lantern festival.

Check out the Chinese horoscope sign by sign.

Is it true that if astrology were a science there would be 13 signs?

What is a snake doing on Mars? The NASA scientists who first saw these spectacular images taken by the HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) high resolution camera of the Mars Recoinnaissance Orbiter must have asked. In reality, what looks like a snake is the shadow projected onto the surface of the red planet by an immense swirl of dust about 800 meters high and 30 meters wide.

The whirlwinds, also known as Dust Devils, are not rare on Mars, but the one taken up by the NASA obit in the Amazonis Planitia region, the planet's northern hemisphere, is truly gigantic: watch it in this incredible NASA video.


It was last February 16, at the time of the year when Mars is farthest from our star, yet despite exposure to sunlight it tends to decrease (as on Earth, the winds are fed by the warming of the Sun), the vortices dust continue to sweep the planet, leaving behind long streaks on its dusty surface (look at the soil of Mars seen by Spirit, the NASA rover).
Explore the 8 wonders of the solar system in this fascinating multimedia.
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This cobra probably will not appreciate the milk-based shower to which they subjected it, but in Hindu religion this ritual is part of a feast organized in his honor. During the Nag Panchami, which falls every year between July and August, snakes are revered in ways ranging from offering prayers to their statues, to libations of food - usually honey and milk - made in camps frequented by reptiles or directly on their skin, as in this case. The ritual has a religious basis (it celebrates the victory of the divine Krishna against Kaliya, the serpent god) but it is also a way to exorcise the fear of these animals, which in the summer months, due to the frequent rains, come out of their dens and they take refuge, sometimes, in homes.

Photos of the most incredible religious rituals

A gallery for those with cold blood

It is difficult to imagine a more inhospitable end than that of this unfortunate African python (Python sebae), forced against his will to play the part of the rope in a showdown between predators in the Mala Mala reserve, South Africa. Caught by a female leopard, the poor man tried to wriggle out, before the son of his tormentor decided to try to share the prey with his mother. The result was a half-hour push and pull, with the reptile in the middle (a couple of meters long). The rock pythons are among the largest African snakes - in some cases they can reach 7 meters in length - and are known for the aggressiveness with which they defend themselves if threatened: between bites and tightening of the spiers, the opponent is soon put out of the game.

See also the slideshow dedicated to reptiles
[EI]

Going ahead is his anti-nuisance strategy. If disturbed the Coelognathus radiatus, a snake widespread in Thailand and in many other Southeast Asian countries, it inflates the neck, opens the mouth and with the front part of the raised body attacks the enemy trying to bite him (even if his bite is not poisonous ). When this tactic does not work, go to plan B: lying on the ground with the tongue out, he pretends to be dead, until the opponent moves away.

In the photo, a snake charmer performs skirmishes with a Coelognathus radiatus at the National Museum of Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia).

See also the slideshow dedicated to reptiles
[EI]

Whatever the beach pastime that you miss most in these autumn days, it is unlikely to resemble what is fashionable in the Black Sea seaside resorts. This photo was taken on a beach in the Russian city of Sochi twenty days ago: bored tourists do it to immortalize snakes, parrots, monkeys and alligators in their arms, or around their necks, in a business that feeds the illegal importation of exotic animals (the lady, for example, chose a python). The famous seaside and thermal resort has been selected to host the 2014 Winter Olympics: in fact, it is enough to travel a few tens of kilometers from the city center to reach the slopes of the Caucasus mountains.

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Anti-stress massages with snakes (watch)
[EI]

Green as hope … to go unnoticed. For this python (Morelia viridis) that lives in Australia, Indonesia and New Zealand, the color of the livery is not only an aesthetic fact. But a survival strategy that is achieved with maturity (the younger specimens are usually yellow or orange). In fact, camouflaging not only does it escape from predators, but it can also get food. As soon as he senses a langurino, the cunning man climbs a tree and once at the top, twists around a branch. Geckos, lizards and small rodents exchange the snake for harmless leaves, but when approached they have a bitter surprise. The agile snake with a leap catches them and lunch is assured.

Photos and many other curiosities about snakes
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[EI]
Photo: © Markus Hiepold

If you see a snake sticking your tongue out, don't worry, it's just trying to figure out if you're edible! In fact, its forked tongue, functioning as a kind of nose, manages to capture the tiny particles present in the air and thus identify any tasty preys.

A dowry useful even in love: the males with the tongue smell the females that are nearby.
Discover many other curiosities about snakes

Do you know which animal has the heaviest tongue?
[EI]

Seeing it coming in front must not be the best. Also because it is green as it is, this snake of the genus Ahaetulla - which can reach 2 meters in length - is perfectly camouflaged with the foliage of the forests of Southeast Asia, where it lives. And exchanging it for a plant is pretty easy!

But fear aside, there is no need to fear. Its poison is not dangerous for humans, it is barely enough to paralyze the preys of which it is greedy (such as frogs, lizards and small birds).

As for toxins, nature has certainly been much more generous with another snake, the inland Taipan (Oxyuranus microlepidotus) that lives in Australia. A single bite can be lethal: a dose of its venom is in fact sufficient to kill a hundred men.

Anti-stress snake massage (watch)
The attack of the snake without a body (video)
The most fascinating reptiles (watch)
[EI]

A relaxing massage is just what you need to start the week right! But forget about perfumed creams and oils. The latest trend in wellness is being sprinkled with small and medium-sized snakes.

Of course, not everyone will be happy to hear a snake - even if not poisonous - crawling on its skin. But those who have tried it swear that it is an infallible remedy against stress and in addition the slight pressure of snakes melts the muscles, regenerating the body and the mind.

The inventor is Ada Barak, owner of an Israeli beauty farm and the treatment costs around 50 euros.

Better to stay away from the cobra instead (look)
Find out which are the most poisonous snakes
[EI]

A python swallows a two-month-old kitten. It happens in Australia. And it's not an urban legend. To show that everything is true, the McLarens, owners of the poor cat, presented to the press the x-ray of the snake still engaged in the digestion of the victim.

The macabre image shows the entire skeleton of the Kohl cat in the stomach of the carpet python (Morelia spilota). A decidedly greedy species: just think that the cat's head was three times as large as the reptile ( but there is also a python that has swallowed something much less "edible" ).
To catch the intruder the McLarens had to call in a specialized person. The "acchiappaserpenti" explained that when the mating season is approaching, it often happens that the most enterprising pythons in their wanderings sneak into some private garden.
[EI]
Photo: © Perth Now

The news is very true, as the photo shows, but it seems too absurd. An Australian python was saved after swallowing four golf balls, thinking they were chicken eggs.

The python, nicknamed Augusta, swallowed the balls, left in a chicken coop to incite the hens to lay eggs. Having gone to the chicken coop, the owner no longer found the balls: in their place was the snake with four protuberances in the body, as evidenced by an X-ray taken in a veterinary clinic. Where the python was happily operated and discharged soon after.

With a similar snake twisted around its stem, we can be sure that no one will try to catch this beautiful Heliconia flower, a plant widespread in Indonesia. Also because a single bite of this viper (Tropidolaemus wagleri) can immobilize a mouse in a few seconds and cause, if not taken care of promptly, permanent damage to our tissues: it secretes in fact emotoxins, a substance that slowly destroys red blood cells. To avoid also possibly the favorite meeting place of these reptiles: the "Temple of the Azure Cloud", in Malaysia, known - not surprisingly - also as a temple of snakes. Inside, many of these vipers gather, perhaps attracted by the smell of incense lit by Buddhist monks.

It really seems that snakes have a soft spot for places of worship: don't you believe it? Click here .

The cobra (in the photo), we know, is one of the most poisonous snakes on the planet, capable of throwing its venom even at a distance of two and a half meters. Until recently it was thought that the poisonous snakes of our planet were not more than 250.

At least until Bryan Grieg Fry a researcher at the University of Melbourne in Australia doubted this figure, bringing the number of poisonous species to around 2, 700 a few years ago. The discovery was made by extracting the poison from thousands of snakes around the world. He subsequently analyzed it, observing that, unlike what has always been thought, almost all (among those considered) are potentially very dangerous.

Great traveler the brown tree serpent. Intrepid and fearless, he hides in the airplanes, slips between the goods, camouflages himself and, rolled up, waits to land. This is how he reached, in the 40s, Guam the largest island of Micronesia, in the Pacific. In fact, by evading the controls, the venomous reptile climbed on a military plane and landed in the new territory. Originally from Australia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, the Boiga has since decimated birds and small terrestrial vertebrates. Not content with having colonized the island, thanks to his now proven ability to hide on every means of transport, he arrived in Hawaii, in the United States and also in Spain.

Photo: © Gordon Rodda, USGS Fort Collins Science Center

You might also like: Is the aversion to snakes innate? A female worker is finishing a giant dragon-shaped figure in a factory dedicated to the creation of spectacular lanterns for the Chinese New Year celebrations.
According to the Chinese calendar, the new year begins today, marking the beginning of the Serpent's year. The Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, falls on the day of the second new moon after the winter solstice. This happens because the Chinese calendar is lunisolar, that is, the months begin with each new moon. As a result, the start date of the first month of the year, ie the New Year, can vary by around 29 days compared to the Gregorian calendar, falling between January 21 and February 19.
For the next 15 days in China and in every Chinese community around the world, the celebrations for the new year will take place, which will end at the traditional lantern festival.
Check out the Chinese horoscope sign by sign.
Is it true that if astrology were a science there would be 13 signs?