Snake | Exploring the World of Wildlife: facts about the Snake

Fear of snakes is one of the most common phobias on earth. And it is quite understandable — some of them are deadly, so being afraid of snakes is just a matter of survival instinct. But it would be unfair to think that snakes are only killers. They are also amazing animals with incredible abilities.

And so interesting facts about snakes:

Fact number one.

Snakes come in very different sizes. Some grow modestly up to 10 centimeters in length, and among the largest representatives of these scaly reptiles we can not mention the giant reticulated pythons, which grow up to 7 meters! There are more than 3,500 species of snakes in the wild. All of them are different, large and small, bright and discreet, poisonous and harmless. These amazing reptiles live on all continents of the planet except Antarctica.  Exceptions also include large islands such as Ireland, Iceland, Greenland, Hawaii and New Zealand, as well as some small islands in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Snakes can survive in almost any environment from jungles and deserts to lakes and mountains. They have even been found as high as 4,900 meters above sea level in the Himalayas. Polycephaly, a rare genetic disorder in which an animal is born with two heads, is very common among snakes. Moreover, such snakes live perfectly well, and sometimes these heads even fight with each other for food.

Fact number two.

Some snakes can go as long as two years without food. All that time, they survive on their stored energy. There is a theory that if a snake starves for too long, it can even digest its own heart. Snakes generally only need 6 to 30 meals a year to be healthy. If a snake is threatened after eating, it regurgitates its food to quickly crawl away to safety. A snake’s digestive system does not dissolve only the victim’s hair, feathers and claws.

Fact number three.

Sometimes these reptiles are called «cold-blooded,» but this is incorrect because their blood is not actually cold. The exact term is exothermic and means that their body temperature changes according to the temperature of their environment. Whereas warm-blooded animals have a constant temperature. Therefore, snakes that live in colder climates go into winter hibernation to stay warm and not die.

Fact number four.

All snakes are predators, although some species are completely unable to chew, but use their sharp teeth to grip and tear their prey. They have two pairs of teeth growing on their upper and lower jaws. Remarkably, the teeth grow throughout the reptile’s life, and change over the course of its life. Most snakes have extremely high jaw mobility, which allows them to swallow prey that is much larger than the snake’s head. In order not to suffocate while swallowing too large a prey, the snake has learned to push the tip of its trachea or windpipe right out of its mouth, which is similar in principle to using a snorkel. The teeth of snakes are turned inward, which allows them to hold a victim who is trying to escape.

Fact number five.

Almost all snake species have developed sensory organs that allow them to hunt. They have an excellent sense of smell. They can detect the slightest scent of various substances. But they do not smell with their nostrils. Snakes have poorly developed vision, but they can easily pick up vibrations. In addition, they can detect odors with their bifurcated tongue. Scientists have also found that snakes are completely deaf. They simply don’t have an outer or middle ear. Nor do they have eardrums.  Almost all species have a little notch on their head. This is a kind of temperature sensor. This sensor helps them easily navigate in the dark. But there are other «sensors» on their stomachs. They allow them to pick up any vibration on the ground.

Fact number six.

Even if you decapitate a snake, its head can bite after a few hours. It is worth noting that poisonous snakes, even if decapitated, remain just as poisonous and their bite can be fatal.

Fact number seven.

The skin of a snake does not grow along with the body like a human. They shed their skin 3-6 times each year to allow for continued growth. This process usually lasts a few days and is called «molting.»

Fact number eight.

Snakes do not have eyelids and cannot close their eyes. Snakes sleep with their eyes open, which looks pretty creepy. The only thing that protects their eyes is a thin transparent film. The absence of eyelids is designed by nature itself. The fact is that snakes molt and having eyelids would make this process much more difficult.

Fact number nine.

To support life in such an elongated and thin body, some paired organs of snakes are arranged either asymmetrically, or one organ is larger than the other, or one of the pair exists only as a rudiment at all. In many species of snakes one lung may be completely absent.

Fact number ten.

Most snake species lay eggs, but some of them keep their eggs inside their elongated body until they hatch (oviparous). Recent studies have shown that there are even viviparous snakes that bear an embryo in their body and give birth to their cubs free of the eggshell. Among such snakes, the most famous are the green anaconda and the boa constrictor.

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