Top 10 Most Beautiful Snakes in the World

Snakes. The word makes some shudder and others cringe while yet others think in wonder of the huge world of reptiles and their marvels. Whether you hate them or love them, one thing cannot be denied, which is their beauty.

Honduran Milk Snake

Lampropeltis triangulum hondurensis, is found in Honduras and Nicaragua. While at first glance not one of the most beautiful snakes, take a look at its scales above – they are bright (which is what the ‘lampro’ in the binomial name stands for) and a brilliant red and black. They are constrictors, but look a lot like coral snakes which herpetologists believe is an example of Batesian Mimicry – when a harmless animal takes on the appearance of a venomous one to protect themselves.

Leucistic Texas Rat Snake

This Leucistic Texas Rat Snake is a lovely lady in white. She gets her coloring and the “leucistic” element of her name from a condition that results in a lack of all pigmentation, rather than just melanin which appears in albinism. This is why her eyes are of normal color. Texas Rat Snakes are (obviously) found in Texas as well as in Arizona and Louisiana. They are non venomous so a bite will give you little more than a sore leg.

Indigo Eastern Rat Snake

The Eastern Indigo snake is unofficially the longest in America, reaching lengths of 9.2ft. Carnivorous in habits, he has been known to beat his prey against other objects in a frenzied fashion to kill it. He will even eat other snakes such as the Texas Rattlesnake, and is immune to its venom. That aside, he deserves number 8 in our countdown for his brilliant black beauty that can look almost blue in the light.

The Emerald Tree Boa

One of the most vivid and unforgettable snakes is the Emerald Tree Boa, Corallus Caninus. These are found in South America and the Amazon. Even though it looks like it is closely related to the Green Tree Python and sleeps the same way, they are only distant relatives. One thing that the Emerald has, is very large front teeth. They way she catche her prey is to stay coiled on the branch, head down, ready to strike. She then catches small mammals with her front teeth and pulls them in to their doom.

The Iridescent Shieldtail

The only reason this lovely is not in the top 3 is that it is hard to see exactly how beautiful she is from this photograph, but she is actually even more gorgeous than she appears here. She has to be one of the most beautiful snakes in the world. The Iridescent Shieldtail, Melanophidium bilineatum , is not well known. Only three specimens are thought to have ever been caught and little is known of how it behaves in the wild. Recently some more have been seen but all that can be said for certain is that it’s beautiful and rare.

Amelanistic Burmese Python

This head turner is an Amelanistic Burmese python – a species which retains their yellow, carotenoid-derived pigments. Mammals only produce pigments with melanins while birds and reptiles can also produce them by other means including carotenoids as we see here. Effectively though, she can be considered an albino snake in that amelanistic is classified under albinism

Brazilian Rainbow Boa

This beauty is the Brazilian Rainbow Boa, Epicrates cenchria named for the iridescent color of its scales. The underlying color is either brown, orange as we see here or a mix of the two. It is found in Central and South America and all the way through the Amazon basin. It is medium sized compared to other snakes and it likes the rivers and drainage areas, living for up to 20 years.

Eastern Coral Snake

Micrurus fulvius is one of the most beautiful of all snakes. Unfortunately it is also very venomous, as are all coral snakes. On the good side, there are only about 15 to 20 recorded bites a year but on the bad side they are deadly and soon there will be no more antivenin for it. Pfizer, has said that with such low demand, it is not worth the cost and research spent on it, and current stock is due to expire at the end of this year. The snakes are forest animals, living in leaf litter and brush. They flee before biting, but if you do get bitten it is imperative you go to a doctor. Respiratory failure occurs within hours.

Green Tree Python

Morelia viridis, the Green Tree Python is a stunner that is found in New Guinea, Indonesia and parts of Australia. It, along with the Emerald Tree Boa, have a unique way of sleeping. They loop one or two coils along a branch, saddle style and place their head in the middle. Remember if it is in Indonesia, it is a python, if it is in South America, a boa. They are often mixed up because they are the only two that sleep this way.

Blue Racer Snake

This beauty is a pretty rare photograph of a Blue Racer snake. I say rare because its not often you get such a brilliant blue reflecting from the scales, as often they seem more gray in color. Its formal name is Coluber constrictor but despite this, they normally simply pin their prey to the ground and swallow them alive. They are known mostly east of the Rockies but have been seen as far south as Mexico.



Top 10 Places You Should Never Pee

"There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.”
(Will Rogers)

Peeing is a common physiological necessity. We tend to pee to relieve ourselves even in odd places when forced to. However, there are some places where you should never ever attempt to pee. In this article, check out ten such places that you should absolutely avoid.

01. Amazon River

Never think of peeing in the Amazon River because of Candiru, a tiny parasite catfish. You might be wondering how a catfish can cause harm to us and how that can stop us from peeing when swimming in the Amazon.

Candiru dwells in the depths of the Amazon. The fish does not attack in batches like the piranha. In fact, it is one of tiniest vertebrates in the world. Candiru is typically a parasite. Generally, humans are not its preferred hosts, but there are unfortunate tales about human beings being attacked by the fish. Candiru resides on the dark basin of the Amazon River and closely follows its neighboring fishes. It is quite dark at the riverbed and the Candiru need not see. It can sense its prey with the traces of Ammonia and Urea that are left when the prey exhales. The prey can hardly detect the Candiru as it is translucent and near invisible due to its small size. When the prey exhales, the Candiru dashes towards the exposed gill of the prey and swiftly takes up a position. It then makes a hole and quickly sucks blood to its full content and withdraws gradually. The injury of the prey often is so deep that it often succumbs to death.

“these are the ones that swim upstream if you pee in the water"

When a human urinates while bathing in the mighty Amazon, he or she might fall victim to the Candiru accidentally. Candiru might find its way up and it is highly difficult and painful to pull it off. In case of humans, the Candiru cannot find its way out and it becomes resident there. Expensive surgery in the urino-genital tract and days of agony can only get rid of this little enemy.

02. Electric fence and live rail

You should never ever attempt to urinate on an electric fence and live rail. People who attempted to do that have fallen victim to electrocution.

Take the case of a Polish tourist touring UK, who was killed when he attempted to pee on the live railway track. The British Police confirmed that the 41-year-old tourist walked on to the track from Platform 1 of the Vauxhall railway station. He wanted to find some lonely place to urinate, but somehow unconsciously urinated on the live rail and was electrocuted.

In another incident, a person from Texas was tangled with the electric fence when he attempted to relieve himself over the live wires after a heavy dose of beer during Christmas celebration. What a tragic end it is.

03. The Dead Sea

The Dead Sea, that has remained attached to the holy Bible since ages, is not a place for urination. Apart from the sacred biblical history and biblical prophecy, urinating into the Dead Sea can be very much uncomfortable and painful. Before going to those details, let us brush up a few facts on the Dead Sea.

Dead Sea, as you perhaps know, is a salt lake between Israel and the West Bank on the west, and Jordon on the east. The shores of the Dead Sea are the lowest points on the earth’s surface. It is 420 meters below sea level and is 380 meters deep. It is 50 Km. long and about 16 Km. wide. It is the most saline water body in the world, having 33.7% salinity. The Dead Sea is about 9 times more saline than the oceans. Due to its salinity, nobody sinks in the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea has been one of the oldest and most popular health resorts in the world.

Be careful about two things before visiting the Dead Sea. First, never attempt to pee in the Dead Sea. If you pee, you might feel excruciating pain. The pain is caused due to the high salinity. Moreover, do not shave in the morning before hitting the Dead Sea’s water. The Dead Sea’s saline waters can cause discomfort and burning sensation.

04. The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is another area where you should not pee. The Great Barrier Reef is the largest set of individual coral reefs. There are about 900 islands that extend for about 2600 kilometers and cover an estimated area of 344,400 Sq. Km. The reef is located in the Coral Sea, in the coastal Queensland, Australia.

The reef is prepared by billions of tiny organisms, known as coral polyps. The Great Barrier Reef supports biodiversity and has been selected as a World Heritage site in 1981. More than 1.5 million people visit the Great Barrier Reef annually.

Swimmers are advised against urinating while swimming in neighborhood waters. This practice can kill corals. Corals grow in low nutrient waters. If you urinate, the nutrient level in the water increases and that has negative effect on the corals. Corals eventually die when they are exposed to water mixed with urine. Not out of any physical threat, you should abstain from urinating in the Great Barrier Reef out of environmental reasons.

05. Minefield

“Signs on beach on East Falkland warning of the dangers of unexploded mines and mine fields"

We should all avoid minefields and never ever attempt to go to pee on an unmarked minefield. There are some interesting facts about landmines. Could you imagine the fact that about a staggering 110 million landmines lie underground in every continent? It would cost an estimated $33 billion to remove only the existing mines without a single one being planted extra. About 70 people are killed or injured each day by landmines. Some countries like Afghanistan have lot of unmarked landmines. Sometimes mines are washed away and deposited on adjacent lands.

Always be on alert and stay clear from landlines. Be on watch and never venture out to pee in landmine prone areas. Gather facts from locals if you feel like. Peeing over landmines can very easily lead to an explosion that can have fatal effect.

06. Pools

Pools are public places where you should not pee. Little children easily urinate in the water; however, many adults also relish the idea of peeing in a warm, comfortable public pool. The comfort of warm water relaxes the muscles around the urinary bladder and there is always a chance of easy, urination. Moreover, nobody wants to leave the comfort of the pool just to urinate in a proper, descent manner.

Public pools are subjected to chlorine, which acts as a disinfectant. Whenever you get down into a public pool, you instantly get the stench of chlorine. Part of the chlorine is due to the concentration of induced chlorine in water, the rest of the stench comes from Ammonium Chloride. This Ammonium Chloride is formed due to the mixing of Chlorine and Ammonia arising out of urine in the pool water.

In order to make pools a better place to swim and relax and to lessen the impact of Chlorine stench, abstain from peeing in pools.

However, the well-known myth of a magical chemical that can detect the presence of urine in swimming pool water is incorrect. Actually, there is no such chemical available.

“Cobalt Beach in Tokyo Summerland. This was right before they started the artificial waves which they did every 30 minutes. It’s not as full otherwise.”

07. Jelly Fish Sting

Strange as it may sound, you should never attempt to treat a jellyfish sting by urinating on it. We all know that a jellyfish sting is highly painful and lash marks appear on the affected part. There is a fictional notion that peeing is an effective remedy. However, it has no scientific basis. Urine can instigate the jellyfish to release more venom. It does more harm than good.

08. Holy Places

“Genuine sign on the quayside at Walvis Bay, Namibia.”

The reason for not peeing in holy places is more due to spiritual and aesthetic reasons, than physiological. Why people go to holy places? People want solace, mental peace and spiritual contentment. Peeing in the holy places around the world does not go well with the spiritual sanctity and sacredness of these places. In some radical religious cultures, peeing in holy places is an offence. So do not pee in holy places and preserve the holy ambience of these places.

09. Any river, not only Amazon

In the beginning, I have already advised you not to pee in the Amazon due to Candiru. Not only Amazon, it is always safe not to pee in any river in the world. Many rivers around the world are the habitats of water snakes, spiders, Piranhas and other animals that can attack all of a sudden. The composition of the urine might provoke them to attack.

There has been incidences (some are fictional) about Piranha-like fishes attacking divers. Freshwater Puffer fish in Indonesian rivers can bite of human flesh. The best and safest practice while bathing in rivers is not to pee.

10. Public Places

“No description needed.

Public places are one of the most unsafe places for urination. Do not try to do that. It not only looks indecent, but also can invite legal troubles. In several countries in the world, urinating in the public is considered a public nuisance. You can be booked for misconduct or even as a sex offender in some countries.

Final Word

Apart from the ten points mentioned above, there are several other parts of the world, where you should not pee. For instance, Antarctica is one such place where peeing can lead to frostbites. Do not try to pee in jungles either. You can get victim of snakes, spiders, and other insects. Certain poisonous and thorny trees and shrubs can cause injury too.

Avoid peeing (under extreme conditions) in your pants at any cost while travelling in a bus or the local train. Apart from loss of face, you stand to lose your girlfriend or boyfriend! You perhaps have never imagined so much about the downside of peeing. Well my friend, pee with a smile in your home, office, and hygienically maintained public toilets and forget worrying!



Tsaparang & Lost Kingdom of Tibet


Tsaparang, the ancient capital of the Guge kingdom holds a special significance for the lovers of history. Situated in the Garuda Valley of Western Tibet’s Ngari Province, this lost kingdom extended between modern Ladakh border and the upper Sutlej River. It lies approximately 26 kilometers west of the Thöling monastery, 278 kilometers west of Ali and in close proximity of the sacred Lake Manasarovar and Mount Kailash. What is eye-catching about Tsaparang is the large fort built on a 500-600 feet high pyramidal rock.

If you observe this rock closely, you can detect the presence of labyrinthine caves and tunnels dug onto it. It is speculated that in ancient times, there were two public temples the Lhakhang Karpo (White Chapel) and the Lhakhang Marpo (Red Chapel) accessed by the commoners inhabiting a village near its base. There are a set of serpentine tunnel staircases leading to the monks’ quarters and the royal quarters with increasing height with the summer palace poised at the top.

Historical accounts say that after the assassination of the anti-Buddhist Tibetan king Langdharma in the 9th century, one of his two sons named Namde Wosung had established Tsaparang as the Guge capital. Other accounts claim that Guge came into prominence when Langdharma’s grandson Nyima Gon fled to Western Tibet and subsequently distributed his kingdom among his descendents by the names of Maryul (modern Ladakh), Purang and Guge. Soon Guge acquired a powerful position by 10th century CE when it started controlling the India-Tibet trade route.

Guge Landscape

Tsaparang along with Tholing came into existence with the reintroduction of Buddhism in Western Tibet by King Yeshe O in the 11th century. The power and prosperity of the Guge Kingdom was felt far and wide and was visited by the missionaries Manuel Marques and Antonio de Andrade in 1624. The church that you find at the foot of the Tsaparang citadel was built by them. With missionary activities rising in subsequent times, Tsaparang was captured by the Muslim besiegers sent by the Ladakh king. Although they defaced Guge Empire, some of the most captivating frescos of Tsaparang have remained intact.

What puzzles modern tourists and researchers of Guge, is why this once lively empire, inhabiting at least by 10,000 people has left behind no descendents at all. Could the 1650’s Ladakhi invasion followed by that of the Red Guards of the Chinese Cultural Revolution have completely wiped out the tunnel residents of the Tsaparang dwellings? Today you can visit Tsaparang as a Tibetan tourist spot and come across an excess of interesting facts and clues about Tsaparang that the pages of history do not provide.

The average buildings of the conical rock over which the ruined citadel of Tsaparang is situated, are carved out of rocks and mud brick. The chapels along the winding path to Tsaparang have stood against the ravages of time and stand out distinctly from the surrounding ruins. The Guge temples containing a wealth of statues were destroyed indiscriminately by the Chinese Red Guards in 1967. Thankfully, just before that in 1948, the German Buddhist monk Lama Govinda and his wife had visited Tsaparang and photographed the temples in their untouched glory.

Along with the Red and White Temples, the smaller temple called Dorje Jigje Lhakhang in Tsaparang and the Tibetan Buddhist Rinchen Zangpo in Tholing are remarkable for their intricate geometric hand-painted patterns. All the three holy abodes are bedecked with a range of natural and imaginary deities that look beautiful despite the notorious vandalism. The 14,000 feet climb to the fortress on top calls for real fortitude, but when you actually go through it and explore the handiworks of the ancient Guge artists with a flashlight, the hard work seems to pay.

With Tsaparang high on the right cliff




Sacsayhuamán, Sacred Valley

Sacsayhuamán, alternatively called Saksaq Waman, is an ancient Inca ruin at an altitude of 3,701 meters. It is a walled complex laden with mystery near the old city of Cusco, Peru. The immense fortress was built by huge stone blocks weighing upto 300 tons, but nobody knows how these stones were cut, moved and put into place. The construction method of the builders of these megalithic walls is still a mystery, as you cannot fit a single piece of paper between most of the stones. The precise construction work, along with artistically bent corners of the limestone blocks and varied shapes of the walls are the chief factors behind the relic’s continued presence till date.

Cusco City View

The longest of the three Sacsayhuamán walls is about 400 meters long and 6 meters tall. About 6,000 cubic meters volume of stone had gone into the construction work. The limestone blocks that went into the construction of the wall weighed up to 300 tons. The transportation of the stone blocks at that age is really interesting. Some of the bigger ones had to be transported more than 50 miles across rugged mountainous terrains. The Incas did not use wheeled vehicles like chariots at that time. There is difference of opinion among chroniclers about the identity of the chief architect behind Sacsayhuaman.

Inca walls

“A good example of Inca stonework at Sacsayhuamán, Peru. They cut and hauled huge stones to make walls like this, and fit them together — without mortar! — so tightly that you coudn’t get a knife-tip or a piece of paper between them. Solid enough to have survived tremendous earthquakes.”

Another interesting construction is the Muyuqmarca or Muyucmarka, which is a small Inca ruin consisting of 3 concentric circular walls, all connected with radial walls located within the Sacsayhuamán archaeological site.

Cusco Sacsayaman Round Tower

Sacsayhuamán. Peru

The Spanish, who invaded the region, extracted a large quantity of rock from the walls of Sacsayhuamán walls to build churches in Cuzco region. For this reason, the walls are perfect up to a certain height and then suddenly missing beyond that point. The relic is famous for extensive underground crisscrossing passages called Chincanas. These Chincanas also connect the fortress with other parts of the Inca remnants. Mystery continues to be unfolded at Sacsayhuamán. In 2008, a temple was discovered in the premises. The temple dates back to sometime between 900 and 1200 AD.

The mysteries around the construction of Sacsayhuamán have boosted its claim to fame. The fortress, which could contain about 5000 people, still has an impressive size and can raise the eyebrows of some of the most renowned architects of today’s age. Some of the stone blocks are really huge and as large as a medium-sized truck! Most importantly, they are still in their designated place even today! Some of the bigger blocks weigh over 50 tons and are still tightly stuck together like bits of puzzles. At times, you cannot but remain wonderstruck at how the biggest block, weighing over 120 tons, was moved to the site with precision at that age? What tools did the Incas had in their possession for cutting these gigantic blocks that precisely fitted together?

The Spanish invaders considered themselves superior in military technology than the Incas. They were shocked at the Incas’ achievement. Some Spanish chroniclers have degraded the Incas in their chronicles and have written that the fortress had been built by evil spirits and demons. Some people even today believe that the structure was not constructed by the Incas. They believe that extraterrestrials could have arrived in our planet and built the Sacsayhuaman fortress. Alternatively, they might have taught the Incas how to build it.

Ruins of Sacsayhuamán, a grand ceremonial and shaman burial site near Cusco. This entrance is double walled, which in Inca architecture always leads to a temple / Photo from ramtyns

Stones in Saqsaywaman

However, the specialists after a simple analysis of the structure and style of construction have come to the conclusion that the Sacsayhuamán fortress was indeed a construction work of the Incas. The estimated workforce behind the fortress was around 20,000 – 30,000 men and the approximate time of construction was about 60 years.

Inca festival

Inca ruins at Saqsaywaman, Cuzco, Peru