Snakes come in over 3,000 different kinds, and every continent except Antarctica has at least one variety of snakes. While snakes have a negative reputation as pests, they may actually be quite useful and even a fun pet.
There are snakes of all sizes since there are so many different species. The thread snake, according to National Geographic, is the world’s tiniest snake, measuring only 3.9 inches (10 centimeters) in length. It has the appearance of an earthworm. The reticulated python, the largest snake, can reach a length of 30 feet (9 meters). The Titanoboa is the largest snake fossil yet unearthed. This creature would have been 50 feet (15 meters) long and lived 60 million years ago. [25 Amazing Ancient Beasts] [Image Gallery]
The western diamondback can strike from a distance of half its body length, which is impressive for a creature that can grow up to 4 feet (120 cm) in length.
The western diamondback can strike from a distance of half its body length, which is impressive for a creature that can grow up to 4 feet (120 cm) in length. (Photo courtesy of the US Fish and Wildlife Service)
Baby snakes and snake eggs
Snakes do not make nests for their eggs, contrary to popular belief. The king cobra is the only snake species that will make a nest for its young. Snakes don’t all lay eggs, however. Snakes lay eggs in about 70% of cases. These snakes are referred to as oviparous.
The remaining 30%, like mammals, give birth to live babies. Snakes living in colder climates do not deposit eggs because some conditions are too cold for eggs to mature and hatch.
Snakes eat a variety of things.
Snakes are carnivores, meaning they eat meat. This implies that they eat only meat. Snakes are frequently thought of as pests, yet by eating rodents, they can help keep pests away.
Many people believe that all snakes kill their prey by biting them and injecting venom into them. This is not the case. Only cobras, vipers, and other closely related snakes utilize venom to prey.
The majority of snakes consume their prey whole. Large snakes, such as the python, will choke and then consume their prey whole. According to National Geographic, snakes may consume animals that are 75 to 100 times their own size. Crocodiles and cows have been known to be eaten by them. The snake’s jaw will unhinge in order to accommodate the huge prey into its mouth.
The snake’s body releases enzymes to break down the meal into usable energy once the animal is inside. Snakes have a slower metabolism than other animals, thus they don’t need to feed as frequently as other creatures. For example, king cobras can go months without eating.
However, eating a live animal can sometimes be disastrous. Snakes have been known to erupt after devouring a living animal for unknown reasons.
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What Is the Habitat of Snakes?
Snakes may be found practically everywhere on the planet. Forests, deserts, swamps, and grasslands are all places where they can be found. Many people live in underground tunnels or under rocks. Some snakes, such as the cottonmouth water moccasin of North America, spend part of their lives in water.
Snakes, despite their widespread distribution, do not enjoy the cold. This is due to their cold-blooded or ectothermic nature. This means that, unlike warm-blooded organisms, they lack the ability to control their body temperature. If it’s chilly outside, the snake will be cold as well, because their bodies don’t consume energy to generate heat. Many snakes hibernate in underground tunnels when it becomes chilly. Others seek out warmer environments, like human houses.
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The Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) states:
Animalia is the kingdom of animals. Bilateria is a subkingdom of the Kingdom of Bilateria. Deuterostomia (Infrakingdom) Chordata is a phylum of insects. Vertebrata is a subphylum of the phylum Vertebrata. Gnathostomata is an infraphylum of the phylum Gnathostomata. Tetrapoda is a superclass of animals. Reptilia is a class of reptiles. Squamata is the order of the Squamata. Serpentes is a suborder of the Serpentes. Scolecophidia (blind snakes) and Alethinophidia are two infraorders (all others) Scolecophidia has three families, while Alethinophidia has fifteen. Alethinophidia has nine subfamilies. Scolecophidia has 15 genera, while Alethinophidia has 316. 305 Scolecophidia species; 2,618 Alethinophidia species, including:
Dendroaspis polylepis (black mamba)
There are six genera and 81 species of coral snakes, including the Arizona coral snake (Micruroides euryxanthus), the Eastern or common coral snake (Micrurus fulvius), and the Texas coral snake (Micrurus fulvius) (Micrurus tener)
Pantherophis guttatus (corn snake)
Cobras include species such as the King Cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) and the Indian Cobra (Ophiophagus indicus) (Naja naja)
Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus) is a type of water moccasin.
There are 28 species of garter snakes, including the common garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis), the San Francisco garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia), and the Western ribbon snake (Thamnosis sirtalis tetrataenia) (Thamnophis proximus)
There are 32 species of rattlesnakes, including the Timber rattler (Crotalus horridus), Eastern diamondback (Crotalus adamanteus), and Western diamondback (Crotalus adamanteus) (Crotalus atrox)
the state of conservation
Corn snakes can tilt their scales outward to improve their ability to catch and burrow into the rough surface of the bark. When the scales were angled, they caused twice as much friction against the bark as when they were flat, forcing the snakes up and allowing them to sit in trees for longer periods of time.
Corn snakes have the ability to bend their scales outward to better grasp and dig into the rough surface of the bark. When the scales were angled, they caused twice as much friction against the bark as when they were flat, forcing the snakes up and allowing them to sit in trees for longer periods of time. Tim Nowak and Hamidreza Marvi contributed to this image.)
The St. Lucia racer is the rarest and most endangered snake on the planet. There are estimated to be 18 to 100 of these snakes left in the world. The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources considers other snakes, such as the Amami Takachiho and the Adelophis copei, to be vulnerable since their populations are declining.
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Snakes do not have the same sense of smell like humans. They have a split or forked tongue that allows them to detect and taste chemical compositions in the air.
Snakes also lack eyelids and ears, and their eyes do not move. They are able to hear through sensing vibrations in the earth.
Snakes shed their entire skin nearly three times a year, but humans shed their skin a little at a time. This is referred to as molting.
Snakes aren’t slimy in the least. The scales of these creatures are smooth and dry. Corn snakes use their scales to help them climb. The scales may be angled to burrow into the bark, allowing them to climb trees.
Southeast Asia’s paradise tree snake has the ability to fly. It swoops in the air before flattening into a C-shape to catch the breeze. It can shift directions as it falls by flipping its body back and forth.
There are a few ways to determine whether or not a snake is poisonous. If the snake’s pupil is formed like a diamond, for example, it is toxic. The pupils of non-poisonous snakes will be spherical. Another good indicator is color. This rhyme can help people tell the difference between deadly coral snakes and non-poisonous scarlet king snakes:
If red comes into contact with yellow, it will kill a person.
If red meets black, it’s a Jack pal.
Snake Facts and Pictures from National Geographic
Snake Facts for Kids from Idaho PBS
Snake Facts from the South Dakota Department of Wildlife
Snakes (BBC Nature)
The World’s Largest Snake, according to Smithsonian Magazine