What are Snakes?
Snakes are members of the animal kingdom and belong to the reptile class. Scientific evidence suggests that snakes evolved from lizards. As their unique characteristic, snakes lack legs, ears and eyelids. However, they have developed certain adaptations to help them carry out different processes of life. For instance, although their sight is not too sharp, snakes can locate their prey through their strong sense of smell. Interestingly, snakes use their forked tongues to smell. They detect particles in the air and can, therefore, sense the presence of a potential prey. This ability to sense the presence of prey through their tongues is very useful for snakes in an absence of a sense of hearing and a sharp sight.
Moreover, the bodies of snakes are quite sensitive to the changes in vibrations of the ground on which they slither around. In fact, they are able to detect even light vibrations. This is another helpful characteristic which helps snakes in locating prey.
Another useful adaptation of snakes is the presence of scales on their skin. In particular, the scales present on the belly area of snakes are hard and rough, providing more grip to snakes when the slither around.
Popular Snake Species
There are around 2900 species of snakes discovered by scientists so far. Following are some of the most popular snake species of the world.
Boa constrictors are large snakes with heavy bodies. They are nocturnal creatures, that is, they are more active at night than during the day. Boa constrictors are often kept as pets by animal lovers.
Measuring only around 3 to 5 feet in length, ball pythons are small and harmless snakes. Instead of inspiring fear in people like all other snakes, ball pythons themselves coil up in the form of a ball due to a fear of danger.
Green Tree Pythons
As the name implies, green tree pythons live on trees. They can grow up to a length of seven feet.
Snakes belonging to the cobra species are venomous and are, therefore, extremely deadly. Cobra is the predominant snake specie of India.
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes
These are venomous snakes which possess fangs. These snakes produce a rattling noise which can warn their potential prey about their presence.
Over twenty-nine hundred species of snakes are found all over the world. Some live on land while others live under water. There is a huge diversity of snake habitats depending on their different characteristics and adaptations. Following are some of the most common snake habitats.
- Swampy areas
- Water bodies
All the different types of snakes exist in different habitats.
Interesting Snake Facts
- The earliest fossils of snakes were discovered in Algeria.
- The smallest snake belongs to the species Leptotyphlops carlae. The average length of snakes belonging to this species is around four inches.
- There are three types of snakes in the world which have been deemed as the deadliest snakes. They are known as Australian Brown Snake, Black Mamba and Saw-scaled Viper.
- Among all the 2,900 species of snakes, only 375 contain venom.
- Snakes are deaf. Instead, they use their ability to detect vibrations through their jawbones.
- Snakes have a slow metabolic rate. Therefore, they can survive without food for a long period of time.
- The heart of a snake is not found at a fixed point in the body. Instead, it keeps on moving around in order to make room for a prey when it is swallowed by the snake.
- Snakes undergo a process of molting through which they shed their skin on a regular basis.