Provokecuriosity "Why some people don’t like snakes? " Group discussion about this Portuguese expression. "Be bad as snakes""Say snakes and lizards” What do they mean? Does it make sense?
To discuss and further develop the theme, the teacher can give to students some of the stories and magazine articles about the snakes and discuss what is the meaning of these stories. http://www.lendarium.org/narrative/a-mulher-cobra/?category=25 Legends http://www.lendarium.org/narrative/a-razao-das-serpentes-serem-muito-velhas/?category=25 http://www.lendarium.org/narrative/a-serpente/?category=25 Magazine articles http://www.superinteressante.pt/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1360:cobras-a-lagartos&catid=6:artigos&Itemid=80 http://naturlink.sapo.pt/Natureza-e-Ambiente/Fauna-e-Flora/content/Veneno-de-cobra?bl=1&viewall=true
After this discussion, groups of students can explore/investigate more about Portuguese snakes and try to know them better! To help, teacher can show this film: Teacher can propose to their students a group-work, to do an identification card of the Portuguese snakes and afterwards show it to the class. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxw2jTjqXRI http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxw2jTjqXRI The next slides show some information about the Portuguese snakes of the MUHNAC collection.
Scientific name: Malpolonmonspessulanus Family: ColubridaeCommon name:Montpellier snake Distribution: Mediterranean basin Conservation status: Least concern (LC) It is the largest Iberian snake. It is a opisthoglyphous snake (the poison inoculator teeth are in the back of upper jaw), and it is not dangerous to humans. They can live at scrubland, open rocky areas, oak and cork oak forests, cereal steppes, agricultural areas, and maritime pine forests. It is a diurnal species. It is an agile snake, excellent swimmer and climbs easily to trees to bask in the sun or to feed. Their diet varies with age: when young they feed on insects, later they catch lizards, and the adults feed on other snakes, small rodents or birds. The larger specimens can eat wild rabbits and ocellated lizards.
The main defense mechanism of this snake is fleeing. When it feels threatened, it may become aggressive, it lifts the anterior region of the body and can even bite.
Some images of characteristics of this snake http://snakesonmyblog.blogspot.pt/2010_08_01_archive.html http://www.cobrasbrasileiras.com.br/serpentes.html http://www.ib.usp.br/~biz212/serpentes.html
Scientific name: Hemorrhoishippocrepis Family: ColubridaeCommon name:Horseshoewhipsnake Distribution: Algeria; Morocco; Portugal; Spain; Tunisia Conservation status: Least concern (LC) They can live at scrubland, coastal plains, arable land, pastures, vineyards, almond and olive groves, rural gardens, and in villages and cities, around buildings. Its name is due to a dark spot, horseshoe-shaped, at the back of the head. Their diet are mainly reptiles, birds and small mammals and they hunt actively, by ambush. They are agile and great climbers. It is an aglyphous snake (it has no poison inoculum apparatus). The teeth are massive and without inoculation channel and it is not dangerous to humans.
When it feels threatened it expands its head slightly, emits shrill whistles and tries to bite the attacker.
Some images of characteristics of this snake http://www.cobrasbrasileiras.com.br/serpentes.html http://www.ib.usp.br/~biz212/serpentes.html
Scientific name: Viperalatastei Family: ColubridaeCommon name:Lataste'sviper Distribution: Algeria; Morocco; Portugal; Spain Conservation status: Vulnerable(VU) The Lataste’s Viper is an small ophidian, with stout body and short tail. It is identified by the prominent sporting appendix at the end of the muzzle and that is the origin of their name. It is a solenoglyph snake (inoculators teeth are projected out of the mouth during the attack, allowing the animal to inoculate a larger amount of venom) and have a very small jaw and movable fangs protruding forward in the act of biting. This is the only venomous snake in Portugal. It lives in rocky or stony places in mountainous areas and usually south-facing, in sandy soil with some vegetation that serves as refuge, in dense woods, oak, pine and scrub areas. Their diet is varied and include small mammals, amphibians and birds.
When in the presence of enemies usually this snake runs away, but if it feels threatened it blows and tries to bite. Its venom has procoagulant, being dangerous to humans. Photoby Rui Rebelo
Crotalussp. skull Some images of characteristics of this snake http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/ff/Crotalus_skull.jpg http://www.cobrasbrasileiras.com.br/serpentes.html http://snakesonmyblog.blogspot.pt/2010_08_01_archive.html http://www.ib.usp.br/~biz212/serpentes.html
Scientific name: Natrix maura Family: ColubridaeCommon name:ViperineSnake Distribution: Algeria; France; Italy; Libya; Morocco; Portugal; Spain; Switzerland; Tunisia Conservation status: Least concern (LC) Average size snake, with head well differentiated from the rest of the body, and short and rounded snout. They live in aquatic habitats, occurring primarily along lakes, ponds, reservoirs, swamps, dams and waterways. Their diet are larvae and adults of all types of amphibians, as well as a large number of small fish and macroinvertebrates, both in fresh and brackish water. Sporadically captures some small mammals and reptiles.
When they feel threatened, they simulate to be dead and release a bad smelling substance. As defense they expand laterally the back of the head and emit chirps at the same time project the head, pretending to bite. This feature makes them similar to the viper. However, they never bite. Photoby Rui Rebelo