What is a snake?
Curious about some snake facts? Before we dive in, let us learn what is snake. Snake is a reptile. It has a long, slim body. Some of the species of snakes don’t have legs and some have but they are not fully developed and are non-functional. Snakes don’t have eyelids. There are over 3,000 species of snakes.
In this article on snake facts, you will learn a lot about snakes like their habitat, prey, reproduction, and some other interesting facts. So, without any further ado, let us begin our snake facts.
Snake Facts 1-10
1. Snakes are found everywhere except Antarctica, New Zealand, Iceland, Ireland, and Greenland.
2. There are more than 3,000 species present in 500 genera of snakes. Out of 3,000 species, 600 of them are venomous. 200 of 600 species can kill or seriously wound humans.
3. Some non-venomous snakes also harm humans like pythons. They either constrict a man to death and eat him up alive.
4. Almost all snakes have scales and are cold blooded meaning snakes should regulate their body temperature externally.
5. The scales cover the snake completely including their eyes. Scales are thick and tough chunks of skin made up of keratin.
6. Scales are useful for several reasons like trapping moisture in arid (dry) climates, reducing friction as it moves.
7. Snakes had legs some 70 million years ago.
8. The most dangerous snake on this planet is the saw-scaled viper. It bites and kills more people than any other snake in any year.
9. The decollated head of a dead snake can bite even hours after death. Such bites have a lot of venom.
10. They (snakes) evolved from a reptilian ancestor that had four legs – probably a land-dwelling lizard around 100 million years ago in the Cretaceous period.
Snake Facts 11-20
11. Fear of snakes is called herpetophobia or ophiophobia. It is one of the most common phobias in the world. 1/3rd of humans are scared of snakes which implies that the fear of snakes is innate and evolutionary.
12. Black mamba is considered to be the most advanced snake because it has a highly developed venom delivery system that no other snake has. It can strike up to twelve times at a stretch. However, a single strike is enough to kill an adult human.
13. Some snakes have over 400 ribs whereas humans have only 24 ribs.
14. If a human turns into a snake, he/she would be around four times longer and only a few inches thick.
15. Flowerpot snake or Brahminy Blind Snake is the only snake that doesn’t need a mate to reproduce and hence it consists of only females. It is the most widespread terrestrial snake on earth.
16. The top five venomous snakes of the planet are:
- Inland taipan
- Eastern brown snake
- Coastal taipan
- Tiger snake
- Black tiger snake
17. Some of the animals that can resist the snake’s venom include honey badger, hedgehog, opossum, mongoose, and a few birds. These animals feed on snakes and are immune to snake’s venom.
18. A warmer snake can digest its prey quickly. For a snake of normal size, it takes three to five days to digest and for snakes like anaconda, it takes weeks to digest the prey.
19. Some snakes can poop at will. To avoid predators, they poop and make themselves extremely smelly and dirty that the predators avoid coming near them.
20. Anaconda is the heaviest snake in the world. It weighs about 600 pounds or 272 kilograms. It can grow to a length of 9 meters or 30 feet. It can eat jaguars, caimans, and capybaras.
Snake Facts 21-30
21. The inland taipan is not only the world’s most venomous snake but also injects the most venom during biting. The venom sacs can hold poison that could kill 80 people.
22. Paul Rosolie, a naturalist, tried to be the first person to survive an attack of anaconda in 2014. He wore a designed carbon fiber suit provided with cameras, communication system, and a breathing system. However, he called it off because he observed that anaconda was breaking his arm as it was tightening its grip on him.
23. Did you know that some snakes can explode after having a heavy meal? A python was observed blown up after it tried eating an alligator. The alligator’s tail was protruding the python’s midsection and its head was missing.
25. Death adders have the fastest strike in snakes in this world. They can attack, inject venom, and go back to their starting position in just 0.15 seconds.
26. The rattles of a rattlesnake are made up of keratin. Each time a rattlesnake sheds its skin, a new ring gets added.
27. The word ‘snake’ comes from ‘sneg’, a Proto-Indo-European word meaning to crawl or creep. Serpent also comes from the Proto-Indo-European word, ‘serp’ meaning to crawl or creep.
28. Some species of snakes have 200 teeth. They are not used for chewing but they point backwards and stop a prey from escaping from the snake’s throat.
29. There are five species of snakes that can glide. They are called flying snakes. They grow up to 4 feet and some can glide as long as 330 feet in air.
30. They can’t chew and have to swallow their prey. Their lower jaw is pretty flexible and hence they can open their mouths wide enough to swallow the prey that is 75% to 100% bigger than the snake.
Snake Facts 31-40
31. To be healthy, a snake has to consume an average of 6 to 30 meals a year.
32. Garter or gardener snake is the most common snake in North America. It is the state reptile of Massachusetts. Garter snakes produce mild neurotoxic venom but it is harmless to humans.
33. Snakes can’t lap up water like mammals. They put their snouts underwater and use their throats to push or pump water into their stomach and intestines.
34. Fangs of snakes last for about six to ten weeks. Once the current fang wears out, a new one replaces it.
35. The Mozambique spitting cobra can spit the venom around 8 feet away. It can spit venom while laying on the ground or raised up. It aims at the victim’s eyes.
36. Snakes lie on roads or rocks so that they can absorb the warmth that these rocks and roads hold (rocks absorb heat from the sun) and the heat/warmth help snakes to move quickly. If the temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, the snake’s body can’t work properly.
37. The number of offspring of a snake is decided by the amount of food it consumes. The higher the food consumption, the higher number of offspring. Arafura snakes eat the least and produce only one egg in a decade.
38. The longest fangs are around two inches or 5 centimeters long. The Gaboon viper possesses these fangs.
39. Some of the venomous have died after accidentally biting and poisoning themselves!
40. Reticulated python is the longest snake in the world. The python can reach 33 feet long which is sufficient for swallowing a pig, a deer, or a person.
Snake Facts 41-50
41. We already know that snakes don’t have eyelids. There is a transparent membrane called brille. The only time brille is visible is when the snake moults. When the brille moults, it becomes cloudy.
42. The shortest snake known to mankind is the thread snake. It is just four inches long and is native to the island of Barbados in the Caribbean. It feeds on larvae and termites. It is generally referred to as ‘thin spaghetti.’
43. The longest venomous snake in the world is king cobra of India. It grows up to 18 feet. It raises up as high as a person, injects venom to kill an elephant, and growls loudly.
44. The snakes that kill the prey with venom have fangs. When the fangs are not used, they just fold them back into the palette (roof of the mouth). The only exception is the coral snake. It doesn’t fold back.
45. Snakes shed their skins three to six times in a year to allow growth of the body. The shedding called ecdysis takes place for a few days.
46. More people are killed by bees than snakes every year, yet humans are more scared of snakes.
47. An island in Brazil has nearly five snakes per square meter! People are not allowed to go to that island as a critically endangered species called golden lancehead snake lives there.
48. 70% of the species lay eggs (oviparous) and the rest of the snake species give birth to live young (viviparous).
49. They have a lifespan of 10-25 years.
50. Most of the snakes have smaller left lung, elongated right lung, and most of their organs are linearly organized.
Snake Facts 51-60
51. Around 40,000 people die every year by snakes. If unreported cases are taken into consideration, the number may shoot up to 100,000. Half of the deaths occur in India.
52. The most endangered and rare snake on earth is the St. Lucia racer. Only 18 to 100 of them are left as of today.
53. In the United States of America, a person is 9 times more likely to die of being struck by lightning than by biting a snake. Each year, snakes bite 7000 to 8000 Americans and out of them 5 to 6 people die.
54. Eating snakes is a delicacy in some cultures. For example, snake soup is a Cantonese delicacy that was made over 2,000 years ago.
55. Some of the endangered species are king cobra, eastern indigo snake, San Francisco garter snake, and Dumeril’s boa.
56. They have forked tongues with which they smell their surroundings to know if there is danger or food available. Bones in the lower jaws receive vibrations from scurrying animals and there are pit holes present in front of the eyes that sense the heat given off by the prey.
57. Sea snakes and kraits are one of the most venomous snakes in the world. However, they don’t pose much threat to humans as they are gentle, shy, and harmless.
58. Snakes have five types of locomotion. They are locomotion, rectilinear, arboreal, concertina, and sidewinding.
59. There is a new disease called ‘mad snake disease.’ In this, the captive constrictors like boas and pythons tie themselves in knots and stargaze. Scientists think that a virus that affects rodents cause this.
60. The fossil of Titanoboa is the largest snake fossil. Titanoboa lived for over 60 million years ago. It had a length of 50 feet or 15 meters. Its weight was more than the weight of 20 people and consumed giant tortoises and crocodiles.
Snake Facts 61-70
61. Snakes can be broadly divided into two groups – primitive and true (typical) snakes. Primitive snakes are the earliest known snake types like thread snake, blind snake, worm snake. True or typical snakes are the ones that are evolved like rat snakes, king snakes, etc.
62. A snake keeps on growing till it dies. However, the rate of growth decreases with age.
63. The venom of Brazilian pit viper is used to treat high blood pressure.
64. Few desert snakes sleep major part of the summer to avoid extreme heat. This is called summer sleep or aestivation.
65. The fastest snake in the world is black mamba. It is the second longest venomous snake in the world. The first is king cobra. It is native to East Africa. It can move at a speed of 12 mph or 19 kmph. Its venom is highly toxic and it doesn’t have an anti-venom. A person dies in seven to 15 hours.
66. The antivenom is produced by injecting venom of different venomous snakes into horses. The dosage is gradually increased till the horse gets immunized. Once the horse is immune to these venoms, the blood is taken from the horse and the serum is separated and freeze-dried. It is this serum that we call antivenom.
67. Romans considered snakes as a symbol of undying love, Hinduism and Judaism believed that snakes represent sexual desire and passion.
68. In few Asian cultures, it is believed that drinking snake blood, especially the blood of cobra increases sexual virility.
69. Brooklyn Papyrus is the oldest written record which describes snakes. It is a medical papyrus that dates back to 450 BCE and it is from ancient Egypt.
70. Most of the snakes help in maintaining the balance of the ecosystem by keeping the population of birds, rats, and other animals in control.