The venomous coral snake that was operated on earlier this month to remove the parasitic pentastome Raillietiella orientalis is an ambassador to the O
The venomous coral snake that was operated on earlier this month to remove the parasitic pentastome Raillietiella orientalis is an ambassador to the Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation. The snake helps to educate the public of native snakes in the region. The snake was just 30 grams when the operation took place, and it was successful, with veterinarians removing three worms from the snake’s lungs. The snake is doing well, according to a post on the OCIC’s Facebook page.
The snake had no clinical signs it was hosting the parasite. A routine examination of the fecal material showed the prescence of Raillietiella orientalis eggs.
“Fortunately we diagnosed this early, before he was having any breathing problems. A pentastome this big could definitely choke and asphyxiate a small snake such as this coral snake,” the OCIC wrote on Facebook, responding to a question if the snake was showing any signs of distress.
The parasites live in the respiratory tract of their snake hosts and can cause the death of the hosts. It is believed to have been introduced to the Florida ecosystem in the 1990s by the Burmese python. The parasites have since been found in timber rattlesnakes, banded water snakes, coral snakes and other native snakes.
Coral snakes possess a highly potent neurotoxic venom that stops nerve transmission, causing respiratory failure and paralysis if not treated immediately. Coral snakes though, tend to be shy and if people leave them alone and don’t pick them up or touch them, they most likely won’t get bit. There are three coral snake species in the United States; the Eastern coral snake (Micrurus fulvius); the Texas coral snake (M. tener); and the Sonoran coral snake (Micruroides euryxanthus).