World's Deadliest Snakes Education Worksheet

Video highlights from World's Deadliest Snakes

School Level - Upper Primary and Junior Secondary

EDUCATION DESCRIPTION


We humans have an irrational fear of snakes that runs deep within our psyche. Statistically, snakes kill far fewer people annually than do cars, bee stings or lightning strikes, yet for many of us the mere mention of the word sends shudders down the spine. World’s Deadliest Snakes takes us up close and personal to a wide variety of venomous serpents, both terrestrial and marine, demystifying this much-maligned animal. From the strike zone, the documentary reveals the evolutionary secrets behind some of the planet’s stealthiest predators, from snakes that attack without warning to others that emit ‘back off’ messages before striking.


TEACHER BACKGROUND INFORMATION


Contrary to popular belief, snakes are not interested in hunting humans and will generally only attack us when provoked. In spite of this, many people harbour a deep and abiding fear – in some cases a loathing – of snakes. Fortunately, a little knowledge and understanding can go a long way to dispel such unfounded attitudes.


In World’s Deadliest Snakes, viewers are treated to a serpentine smorgasbord that encompasses 20 different snake species from five continents. The characters range from the 0.5m western coral snake to the 10m reticulated python, occupying diverse habitats, including the desert, rainforest, river mud, swamplands and the ocean. Each of the species is perfectly adapted to its environment, with some using camouflage to blend into the background, and others advertising their presence with bright colours.


Snakes employ an interesting range of locomotion techniques. While the best known is the classic serpentine slither, Africa’s black mamba can lift half of its body off the ground and leap into a tree, while the boomslang’s stomach is lined with coarse-edged scales, making it an expert climber.

The diet of snakes is as wide and varied as their habitats. Yamakagashi snakes hunt amphibians in Asia’s rice paddies; Australia’s eastern brown snake prefers rats and mice, and in South America, the green anaconda is fond of black caiman – a relative of the crocodile.


Snakes’ hunting techniques have evolved to suit both environment and prey. Some snakes are camouflaged, lying in wait, ready to ambush the unwary. The Australian death adder can stay motionless for days or weeks at a time, twitching its brightly coloured tail to attract birds and lizards. In the leaf litter and hollow logs of Central American rainforests, the jumping viper lives up to its name, surprising its prey by propelling itself half of its body length in a single bound.


The documentary also examines the different ways that snakes use their venom to harm or kill prey. Some snakes warn before striking, whilst others strike repeatedly when surprised or attacked. 


As well as illustrating the diversity of snakes, the film also teaches us about physiological similarities, including the forked tongue that flicks scent molecules onto ‘Jacobson’s Organ’ on the roof of the mouth, alerting the brain that a meal is nearby. 


Whether we like them or not, snakes are here to stay. Armed with knowledge and understanding, students can learn to appreciate snakes as an integral and important part of the web of life.



CURRICULUM POINTERS

Upper Primary Curriculum


Science provides an empirical way of answering interesting questions about the biological, physical and technological world. The knowledge it produces has proved to be a reliable basis for action in our personal, social and economic lives. Science is a dynamic, collaborative and creative human endeavour arising from our curiosity and interest in making sense of our world through exploring the unknown, investigating universal mysteries, making predictions and solving problems.
Australian Science K-10 Curriculum 2010: Rationale


 
Junior Secondary Curriculum


The science curriculum provides opportunities for students to develop understandings about science and its processes, the scope of its contributions to our culture and society, and its applications in our daily lives. The science curriculum addresses the diverse needs of Australian students by providing them with scientific knowledge, understandings and skills to make informed and responsible personal, social, technological and environmental decisions that impact at the local, national and global levels
Australian Science K-10 Curriculum 2010: Rationale


CURRICULUM OUTCOMES



Upper Primary


In undertaking these tasks, students of Science will:


•  Develop an interest in science and a curiosity and willingness to explore, ask questions and speculate about the changing world
• Communicate scientific understandings and findings
• Develop an understanding of historical and cultural aspects of science
Australian Science K-10 Curriculum 2010: Aims


Junior Secondary


In undertaking these tasks, students of Science will:


•  Ask questions and speculate about the changing world
• Develop an understanding of historical and cultural aspects of science as well as contemporary science issues
• Communicate scientific understandings and findings

Australian Science K-10 Curriculum 2010: Aims



STUDENT LEARNING TASKS


Upper Primary



Task 1


Download a map of South America from
http://maps.nationalgeographic.com/maps/print-collection/world-of-animals-map.html
Save the map to your files, or print it and paste it into your workbook.


Choose five of the world’s deadliest snakes and write their names in the countries where they are found.

Task 2


Choose a completely different deadly snake from the ones you chose for Task 1 and draw a picture of it. Write down the following information about it:


• Name
• Country of origin
• Habitat
• Diet
• Hunting technique

Task 3


Write a paragraph to describe what makes your chosen snake deadly. In your answer include two physical characteristics and two types of behaviour, and explain how these features help it survive.

Task 4


• In a sentence or two, describe a situation where your snake might come in contact with a human.
• What advice could you give the human to reduce the chance of a deadly encounter with the snake?


Task 5


Write down five physical characteristics that all snakes (deadly or not) have in common.


Junior Secondary

Task 1


Download a map of the world from:
http://maps.nationalgeographic.com/maps/print-collection/world-of-animals-map.html
Save the map to your files, or print it and paste it into your workbook.


• Identify and mark the following continents:
Asia
The Americas
Africa
Australia


• On each continent on the map, write the names of two deadly snakes native to each continent.


Task 2


For each of the snakes you chose for Task 1, compile the following information in a table:


• Name
• Maximum length
• Colour
• One other distinguishing physical features
• Country of origin
• Habitat
• Diet
• Hunting technique
• Toxicity of venom

Task 3


Write a paragraph to explain how a snake uses its forked tongue to detect scent.
Write another paragraph to describe other sensory organs common to all snakes.


Task 4


Reticulated Pythons use a number of different ‘weapons’ to catch and kill prey.
Name five of these and explain how each one is used.


Task 5


In 200 words explain why snakes are an important part of the food chain. In your answer describe what could happen if there were no snakes left in the world.

Discuss this article

Newsletter

Never miss a Nat Geo moment

Your email address
Submit