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Beware! A snake may be dangerous for hours after its death

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Last Updated: September 01, 2014, 15:44 IST

Beware! A snake may be dangerous for hours after its death

Snakes can be dangerous even after they are dead as they retain reflexes hours after death.

Washington: Snakes can be dangerous even after they are dead as they retain reflexes hours after death.

"A snake's post-mortem movements are fueled by the ions, or electrically charged particles, which remain in the nerve cells of a snake for several hours after it dies," Steven Beaupre, professor at the University of Arkansas in the US, was quoted as saying in media reports.

When the nerve of a newly dead snake is stimulated, the channels in the nerve will open up, allowing ions to pass through.

This creates an electrical impulse that enables the muscle to carry out a reflexive action, like a bite.

"For poisonous snakes like cobras and rattlesnakes, biting is one of the reflexes that can be activated in the brain even hours after the animal dies," Beaupre added.

"Snakes in general are well known for retaining reflexes after death," Beaupre was quoted as saying by Live Science.

"Many ectothermic, or cold-blooded, vertebrate including species of reptiles and amphibians, share this quality," he explained.
first published:September 01, 2014, 15:44 IST
last updated:September 01, 2014, 15:44 IST