Snakes represent a unique group of reptiles. As limbless animals, snakes have inspired both fascination and fear, as many of them can be deadly poisonous. However, they do not bite out of malice and do not go looking for enemies. There is much of them that is still not known at a popular level…
In this article, you will learn 5 facts you didn’t know about snakes:
1. Snake sizes vary a lot
Snakes are a very diverse group in terms of size. For example, there are some tiny specimens, such as the Barbados thread snake (Tetracheilostoma carlae) with a length of about 10 cm. There are also huge species, for example the green anaconda (Eunectes murinus), native to South America. There are records indicating that this species can grow more than 6 meters long and weigh around 35-80 kilos.
2. His senses are amazing
It is interesting to see how the senses of snakes differ from one species to another. For example, some species have very limited vision, while some arboreal species of tropical forests have well-developed vision, such as the parrot snake (Leptophis ahaetulla), which lives in Central and South America.
Snakes may not have an outer or middle ear, but they are not deaf because they have an inner ear that allows them to sense vibrations in the ground to hunt and stay alert. These reptiles perceive vibrations in the ground very well, which is necessary for alertness and hunting.
One of the biggest curiosities about snakes is that they make great use of their forked tongues, which are constantly moving out of the mouth, to perceive scents. They use their tongues to catch particles as they travel through their mouths. This allows them to trap chemical traces in structures called Jacobson’s organs. These are located on the roof of the mouth and are covered with olfactory tissue so that they can smell their prey or predators.
Snakes, pythons, and boas are distinguished by their ability to sense heat, as they have structures and organs that can measure temperature. The holes in the face between the nostrils and the eyes have special membranes that detect infrared radiation from potential prey or predators. Thanks to these structures, they are able to detect their prey even in the absence of light, since they perceive the heat generated by the other individual.
3. They have different ways of moving
Although they do not have legs, snakes can move freely because they have developed certain locomotion strategies. In fact, some species are really fast and move in a very effective and undoubtedly curious way.
Snakes usually move by lateral undulations, characterized by an S-shaped movement. The movement is possible thanks to the propulsion of the animal against the irregularities of the surface. Their numerous short and wide vertebrae allow them to make these quick movements.
Snakes can also move with a mode of locomotion known as sidewinding. This type of movement is achieved by vertical and lateral undulations, with the head in a vertical plane almost perpendicular to the direction of movement and all segments at a non-zero tilt.
It is also possible for snakes to move in a straight line, and this is especially common in heavier species. This locomotion is called rectilinear.
4. They have different hunting strategies and ways of feeding
When they hunt, snakes are very agile creatures and consume a variety of animals depending on the habitat and size of the snake. Venomous snake species use their venomous bite to kill their prey before eating it.
Those without venom, on the other hand, capture and kill their prey by constriction, although some may still eat their prey alive.
5. They have very different ways of reproducing
Snakes have a strange way of reproducing. Although all snakes have internal fertilization, they differ in their reproductive methods. There are species that lay eggs, such as pythons, which take care of their nest until the young are born. Other species, such as rattlesnakes, are ovoviviparous, meaning that the embryos develop in eggs that remain in the mother’s body until they hatch. Boas, on the other hand, are viviparous, meaning that the embryo develops in the mother’s body without a shell. In other words, they give birth to live baby snakes. Many females that give birth later eat their young.
Most snakes are born through sexual reproduction. This means that two specimens (one female and one male) mate with each other. Interestingly, some snakes reproduce asexually. Females can store sperm and decide when to fertilize eggs, which they can lay at different intervals after copulation.
Did you know these curiosities about snakes? They turn out to be beings with many peculiar characteristics!