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Kraits Cobras Sea Snakes and Relatives: Elapidae


Elapids eat small mammals, birds, snakes, lizards, frogs, and fishes. Many of them feed on whatever they can find, while others eat only one or two different items. The favorite food of the southern African Rinkhal's cobra, for instance, is toads. Sea snakes find their meals in the coral reefs where most of them live, and they eat mainly fishes, eels, or squids. Most species in this family actively hunt for food, slithering or swimming up to prey, an animal they intend to eat, and then striking at them and biting them with their fangs. The fangs release venom, or poison, which slows down the prey's heartbeat and breathing, making the animal easy to eat. Rather than finding prey, the Australian death adder lets prey come to it. The adder sits still, wriggling only the tip of its tail, which looks much like an insect grub, the very young form of an insect. As the animals come closer to take a bite out of the tasty "grub," the snake strikes.


Nature is filled with copycat animals, and snakes are no exception. The coral snake is one example. These snakes have powerful venom and, with one bite, can sicken and often kill attacking animals. They also have bold red, black, and yellow bands, and predators learn to avoid snakes with those patterns. There are other snakes that live among the coral snakes but lack their venom. Many of them are colored very much like the coral snakes. While these "copycats" pose little danger to other animals, predators avoid them because they look so much like coral snakes. These copycats, known as mimics (MIM-iks), can be quite common. In coral snake habitats, for instance, these mimic species are so common that they actually outnumber true coral snakes by two to one.

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Animal Life ResourceDinosaurs, Snakes, and Other ReptilesKraits Cobras Sea Snakes and Relatives: Elapidae - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, North American Coral Snake (micrurus Fulvius): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, KRAITS COBRAS SEA SNAKES THEIR RELATIVES AND PEOPLE,