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Tentacled Snakes Born at National Zoo for First Time in Years

11:28 AM, Nov 8, 2012   |    comments
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Photo by Brittany Steff, Smithsonian’s National Zoo.

WASHINGTON (WUSA) - I've had some pretty weird dreams in my life that feature encounters with beastly animals that strike fear into my subconscious.  I generally wake up from those nightmares, sometimes in a cold sweat, to realize that I won't ever actually come across some kind of wild, reptilian creature with tentacles in Washington, D.C..

That theory, though, is no longer accurate, because reptilian creatures with tentacles have been born at the National Zoo.

Eight tentacled snakes were born on October 21, according to Zoo officials, to parents that haven't been able to spawn viable offspring in years.

The Zoo described the tentacled snakes in a press release as being "aquatic" and "ambush hunters".

"They use their tails to anchor themselves and wait underwater for their prey," the Zoo said in the press release. "They get their name from the unique tentacles that protrude from their snout and function as sensory mechanisms that allow the reptiles to pick up vibrations from fish that swim by."

Apparently it didn't take too long for the newborns to heed the calls of their instincts.

"Within a few hours of being born, the snakes were already acting like adults," said Matt Evans, Reptile Discovery Center keeper. "Instincts took over and they were hunting. We don't know much about this cryptic species, but we're already learning so much just watching them grow."

The Zoo has the four adult snakes on exhibit at the Reptile Discovery Center, but the eight newborn snakes will probably be sent to other zoos when they get older.

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