50+ Interesting Facts About Snakes
- Snakes are present in all the continents except Antarctica.
- Snakes are also absent from specific areas, including the North Pole and the island countries of New Zealand, Ireland, Iceland, and Greenland.
- Today, all species of snakes are without feet. But it has been proved that their ancestors had feet. A fossil of a 120 million-year-old snake has been found having 4 feet with five digits each. (Source)
- Snakes have nostrils. However, they also use their tongue to smell the air.
- Few species of snakes are diurnal, while others are nocturnal. All the snakes are dichromatic, which can see blue and green colors (as compared to trichromatic vision in humans that include red color). The nocturnal species can also see UV (ultraviolet) light that assists them in hunting in the dark. (Source)
- Like a few other animals, females of a few snake species can also reproduce asexually. But the Brahminy blind snake of Southeast Asia is the only known snake species that routinely reproduces without mating. (Source)
- Snakes shed their skin several times a year. This process is separate from other reptiles as snakes shed their whole skin simultaneously. It helps them to remove parasite-laden old skin and replace it with new healthy skin. (Source)
- King Cobra is the longest venomous snake with a length of up to 18 ft. It has such a powerful and large amount of venom in its bite that it can kill an elephant in a few hours. (Source)
- Black Mamba is a dangerously venomous snake in Africa. It is also the fastest land
snake in the world that can attain a speed of 19 km per hour (12 mph). (Source)
- Five species of snakes only consume birds’ eggs. These egg-eating snakes are present in sub-Saharan Africa and northeastern India. All these snakes are slender, around 30 in. (76 cm) long, and lay each of their eggs in separate places. (Source)
Few snake species only eat eggs
- Philippine Cobra can spit its venom at a distance of up to 3 meters. They can spit the venom accurately in the victim’s eye, which can result in blindness if not washed immediately. There are several venom-spitting snake species in Asia and Africa.
- Inland taipan has the most toxic venom among all the snakes and injects the most venom in its bite. The toxin in a single bite of this deadliest snake is enough to kill 100 adult men. (Source)
- The gaboon viper, present in central and western Africa, has the longest fangs among snakes. The length of the fangs of Africa’s heaviest venomous snake is 1.6 inches (4 cm). (Source)
- Snakes are dangerous for many animals, but few animals like to hunt snakes. Eagles, owls, mongoose, foxes, and honey badgers are a few examples.
- Mongoose, honey badger, and several other snake-eating animals and birds are naturally immune to snake venom.
- Kingsnakes, black racers, and a few other snakes are known for eating other snakes,
including venomous snakes.
- Along with killing the prey, the snake’s venom also helps the animal to digest its prey.
- Snake venom is not only antimicrobial and painkiller but also has the potential to treat several diseases like high blood pressure, stroke, brain injuries, etc. Experiments are underway to use snake venom as a treatment for cancer. (Source)
- Green Anacondas, found in South America, are the largest snakes, and their mating behavior is unique. A single female anaconda mates with multiple males (up to 12) at a time, and the mating process continues for several weeks. After mating, a female green anaconda may eat one or more male anacondas. (Source)
- Colubridae (typical snake) is the largest snake family, representing around two-thirds of snake species. Most of these snakes are either venomless or have very little venom that is harmless to humans.
- In Hong Kong, meats of at least two types of snakes are used to prepare snake soup. In Chinese folk medicine, this soup is considered nutritious and warm.
- According to a study, snakes initially appeared on earth around 128 million years ago. These ancestors of snakes were nocturnal, terrestrial, and had hind limbs. (Source)
- Large snakes like pythons, boas, kingsnakes, and bullsnakes are completely non-venomous and kill their prey by constricting its body. The stiff constriction stops the cardiovascular system, and the victim usually dies in less than a minute due to shortness of breath.
- There are at least 35 species of reptiles that look very similar to snakes. But these are lizards without legs. They are commonly known as legless lizards or snake lizards. Slowworms and glass snakes are two of these legless lizards.
- There are four basic modes of locomotion in snakes according to various surfaces. These include rectilinear, concertina, sidewinding, and lateral undulation. But concertina and lateral undulation can further be divided into multiple types. Therefore, the total number of snakes’ gaits is 11. (Source)
- The world’s largest snake gathering has been discovered in Canada. Around 75,000 garter snakes take refuge in the Narcisse Snake Dens of Manitoba to avoid the -45 Celsius temperature outside. (Source)
- Several snakes can kill humans, but the only ones that can eat them are large constrictors (pythons and anacondas). A python can kill and swallow a grown human in just an hour. (Source)
- More than 90,000 people lose their lives every
year due to snake bites. These deaths occur as venomous snakes bite between
1.2 million and 5.5 million people annually. (Source)
- Most of the antivenoms work against the venom of a single type of snake. But a newly-discovered antivenom is effective against 18 kinds of snakebites (Asian and African snakes). (Source)
- There are more than 3,000 species of snakes on earth. They are present on land and in water.
Snakes are present on land and in seas
- Snake Island in Brazil is full of one of the most venomous vipers. There are between 2,000 and 4,000 snakes in an area of 110-acre (one snake per six square yards). Due to the abundance of snakes, the government of Brazil has made it illegal for humans to visit this place. (Source)
- The world’s smallest snake was discovered in Barbados in 2008. The length of this thread snake is just 10 cm. (Source)
- Vipers, elapids (cobras, sea snakes, etc.), and colubrids (barons racers, boomslang, etc.) are the three types of venomous snakes, and all have different fangs. Vipers have the most dangerous fangs that haven’t changed much in the last 40 million years. Fangs of colubrids are located at the back of the mouth. Most colubrids are harmless to humans.
- There are 100 to 450 vertebrae in a snake’s body. All these vertebrae, except for a few close to the head, are attached with a pair of ribs. Snakes also have 10 to 205 vertebrae in their tails but are free from ribs.
- Few large snakes like boas, rattlesnakes, and pythons have specific organs that can sense heat.
- Snakes don’t have external ears. But they can feel vibrations on the ground and in the air using their jaws, skull, and internal ears.
- Green anacondas are the largest snakes on earth. It has a length and width of 29 feet and 12 inches, respectively, and can gain weight up to 550 lb. It is also the second-longest snake after the reticulated python. (Source)
- A female reticulated python (Medusa) is the longest snake in captivity. Its length is 7.67 m (25 ft. 2 in.). (Source)
- Snakes have extremely flexible jaws that assist them in swallowing prey even larger than their size. Its two lower jaws move independently, and the quadrate bone also moves freely due to a single attachment from the skull. (Source)
- Like few other cold-blooded animals, snakes go through a hibernate-like state during winters, known as brumation. Depending on the climate and location, snakes may brumate for a few weeks to 8 months. (Source)
- Snakes also need to drink water like most other animals. But they don’t have lips and suckling tongues. They can complete the drinking process using their lower jaw, which works like a sponge.
- Sea snakes can absorb oxygen through their skin, which allows them to remain underwater for long periods. But they need to surface regularly for breathing. In contrast, the blue-banded sea snake, a highly venomous sea snake, can use the top of its head to breathe underwater. It works similarly to gills in fish and amphibians. (Source)
- Few species of snakes can survive for two years without food. They can do so by lowering their metabolic rate up to 72%. Snakes can continuously grow even in the absence of food. (Source)
- A snake produces a hissing sound by breathing forcefully from the mouth and nose. The purpose of hissing is to warn other animals.
- The Japanese grass snakes are not only venomous but also poisonous. The Yamakagashi has venom in its saliva and contains poison in its nuchal glands. (Source)
- Snakes don’t have eyelids. Instead, they have a layer of transparent scale covering each eye. It is known as a brille or eye cap. The brille protects the snake’s eyes from dirt and dust.
- In 2011, there were 1.15 million pet snakes in 550,000 houses in the USA. (Source)
- Snakes are carnivores that eat different animals according to their size and habitat. Their prey may include insects and their eggs, birds and their eggs, fish, amphibians, reptiles (including other snakes), small mammals (mice, rabbits, etc.), and large mammals (dogs, deer, pigs, etc.).
- Snakes are usually solitary animals that only come together during mating or hibernating. But garter snakes are very social that also make friends. (Source)
- Around 70% of snake species lay eggs. But boas, vipers, and most sea snakes give birth to young ones. (Source)
- Few species of snake, especially non-venomous ones, can have hundreds of tiny teeth. These teeth assist in gripping and pushing the prey inside the mouth.