Information About Snakes That'll Leave Your Jaw Dropped

Information about Snakes
One of the most feared animals on earth, snake is actually a useful creature for humans rather than being dangerous. Information about snakes presented in the article should help the readers in finding some interesting facts.
The snakes are reptiles (class Reptilia) which belong to suborder, Serpentes. These creatures are ectothermic which means their body metabolism rate is low. It also means that snakes are not very well equipped to regulate their body temperature internally. Origin of the word snake can be traced in different languages like the Proto-Germanic (*snak-an-), Proto-Indo-European [*(s)nçg-o- ] and the German (Schnake). The venom is used by snakes to kill their prey; it is interesting to know that snakes, which are amongst the most feared creatures have very less number of venomous species. Snakes are found in deserts, forests, oceans and almost all parts of the earth. Regions with a cold climate are those in which snakes find it hard to survive; the number of snakes in these regions is therefore, very less. Let us find few more facts about these interesting and highly misunderstood creatures of our planet.

Facts about Snakes

The snakes, despite having a slender and somewhat different body shape than other animals, possess all the internal organs like kidneys, pancreas, gallbladder, etc. Skull is the only notable feature of skeleton of snakes. Ribs, vertebral column and hyoid are other parts of the skeletal system.

The snakes are known to eat smaller animals like mice, frogs, lizards, etc. Pythons feed on even larger animals like deer. Snakes have to swallow their food completely, as they cannot tear and chew like the other animals. Constriction is a technique used by some of the snakes in killing their prey. In this method the snake coils its body around the prey and chokes it to death (asphyxia).

Locomotion in Snakes
The body of snakes is kind of unique in comparison to that of other animals. Limbs are used by terrestrial animals for locomotion and which allow their body to move with ease. In case of snakes, the absence of limbs make it difficult to move at a faster pace. However, these serpents have developed different techniques for locomotion which make their body movement much easier. Descriptions of these techniques are presented below.
  • Serpentine Technique: This kind of snake movement requires a rough surface. The snake pushes objects in its way to move ahead; the wavy motion can be seen during this movement of snakes. A smooth surface doesn't allow snakes to move by means of this technique.
  • Rectilinear Locomotion: It is one of the methods of locomotion in which body of the snake moves forward without bending, except at the time of turning. Scales present on the belly of snake are used in carrying out this kind of movement. The superior and inferior costcutaneous muscles which act opposite to each other are used by snakes in body movement. These muscles are present on all ribs of the snake.
  • Sidewinding Technique: In the sidewinding technique, movement takes place by lifting certain segments of the body and which are used to push those segments in contact with the ground surface. The sidewinding technique proves to be useful in moving along slippery surfaces.
  • Concertina: In this method of locomotion, posterior part of the body is folded/braced in a manner that it acts like a spring; frontal part of the body is propelled ahead.
Reproduction in Snakes
Most of the snakes are known to reproduce by means of internal fertilization. The process of internal fertilization in snakes is accomplished through the use of hemipines that are present in males. Oviviparous snakes lay eggs only before they are ready to hatch. It is generally seen that snakes abandon their eggs after laying them. However, few of them like King Cobra are known to build nests for eggs to protect them.

It is an important phase in the lives of snakes and which takes place periodically. The process of molting involves shedding of skin. A liquid is formed over the new skin which helps in shedding the older one with ease. Process of separation of old skin from the body is initiated by snakes scraping it (skin) on rocks or other hard surfaces.

Information about Snakes for Kids

These fun facts about snakes should interest the kids. Information presented below should help in finding some interesting facts about snakes.
  • The King Cobra is capable of killing an elephant with its single bite.
  • New Zealand is the only country where snakes don't exist naturally.
  • You won't find a black mamba with black skin color. Skin of this snake has many shades other than black; this snake has a black mouth and hence the name, black mamba.
  • The total number of different types of snakes found in the world is around 2900.
  • Fangs of the viper snakes can fold inside their mouth.
  • Reticulated python is the biggest snake found on earth. The snake can grow as long as 33 feet in length. Colossus, a reticulated python from Pittsburgh Zoo is the longest snake to have lived in a zoo. Length of this snake was 28½ feet.
  • Scales that line the body of snakes are made up of keratin. Fingernails of human beings too are made of keratin.
  • Snakes do not blink, as their eyes don't possess eyelids. Instead, the eyes are covered with 'spectacles', the clear scales which protect them.
  • The number of total vertebrae present in snakes range from 100-400. The long series of vertebrae makes the body of snakes quite flexible.
  • Jaws of snakes enable them to eat stuff which is many a time larger than their mouth; it is possible because jaws are not rigidly fixed/fused at their end, like in other animals.
  • Snakes possess an infrared sensing function that proves to be useful in locating prey with a warm-blooded body. Location of animals that generate heat can be traced with this infrared sensing function.
There is great variety in terms of color, venom, etc. in the snakes. There are many false beliefs about snakes and which create fear in the mind of people. Snakes generally don't attack unless and until you threaten or surprise them. It is only because of some reason that snakes tend to attack. Human beings in fact, benefit from snakes in many ways. Snakes keep the rodent population in check and protect the crops in fields. There is a lot to study about these creatures since we only have the basic information about snakes. Further research should allow us to understand about snakes in a better manner.