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July 27, 2014 Radio Show: Curing Cancer, Spending Summer Nights With Fireflies and More

This week on National Geographic Weekend, join host Boyd Matson and his guests as they invent a cheap cancer detection system, scour the earth’s poles for adventure, ingratiate themselves with a cheetah family, give the facts on fireflies, conjure life from the fangs of a viper, feed Africa from Africa, roadtrip across the United States in comfort, and photograph National Geographic’s past.

Ask Your Weird Animal Questions: Reptiles

Reptiles may not be as cuddly as cats or as dutiful as dogs, but reptile people love their lizards, snakes, and turtles. This week Ask Your Weird Animal Questions slithers into the world of reptiles, starting with one reader who shelled out some great questions about turtles. Water turtles/terrapins: When they sleep at night, how…

Albino Kingsnake and 6 Other Invaders Wreaking Havoc

The albino kingsnake invading the Canary Islands is among many foreign species that have wreaked havoc on their new environments.

Invasive Pythons Can Find Home 20 Miles Away, Study Says

For Burmese pythons, there’s no place like home—abd the snakes can navigate from over 20 miles away to get there, a new study says.

18-Foot-Long Monster Python Caught in Florida

The state’s second-largest Burmese python was caught in the Everglades.

How Snakes Fly UFO-Style

Scientists have discovered how reptiles can fly: They twist their bodies into an S shape that resembles an alien’s flying saucer from the side.

Flesh-Eaters: 5 Cannibalistic Animals

From sharks to prairie dogs to spiders: Here are a few creatures for whom “I’d like to have you over for dinner” is a terrifying invite.

5 Trickster Animals That Play Dead

Sharks, snakes, and fish are among several animal tricksters known to feign death to stay alive.

Geography in the News: Cobras

By Neal Lineback and Mandy Lineback Gritzner, Geography in the NewsTM MISSING COBRA! EEEEK! The escape of a highly venomous Egyptian cobra in March 2011 forced part of the Bronx Zoo’s reptile unit to close for more than a week. The 20-inch-long (52 cm) snake was found within the zoo’s Reptile House less than 100 feet…

How Did a Decapitated Snake Bite Itself?

A herpetologist weighs in on how a decapitated snake in a viral YouTube video can still move—and even bite—without its head.

Sperm Hoarders: Why Animals Store Semen

Some female animals—including fish, snakes, and octopi—store sperm in their reproductive tracts for years after mating. But why?

Longest Burmese Python Found in Florida

A Florida man found and killed a 18.8-foot Burmese python, which beats out the previous record-holding snake by a foot.

The Return of Grand Cayman’s Blue Iguana: From Near-Extinction to Endangered

In 2002, between 10-25 blue iguanas remained in the wild. Today, there are 750. By incubating eggs in his home office and gathering plants to feed the baby blues, Fred Burton and his team have brought back a species that was nearly extinct. While these 5-foot-long majestic creatures are still a rare sight, they are…

Spiders Take Control as Birds Fade From Guam

As bird populations plummet worldwide, will Earth become the Planet of the Spiders? Research on Guam, a 30-mile-long U.S. island in the Pacific, found that arachnid populations increased as much as 40-fold in the wake of insect-eating birds being eaten into oblivion by invasive brown treesnakes.

Rare Snakes Restored to Illinois Prairie Preserve

Eighteen smooth green snakes bred in captivity were released into the northern Illinois prairie a few dozen miles from Chicago today.