Facts about snakes. Trivia on snake. Information about snakes. Do snakes have eyelids? How do snakes swallow their prey? How many vertebrae does a snake have? How big is the biggest snake? How small is the smallest snake? What is the most dangerous snake? Are all snakes venomous? When did snakes evolve? What does a copperhead snake look like?
Snakes are one of those animals that most people either like or are scared of. They are legless reptiles and they evolved around 114 million years ago, in the late cretaceous period, they do not have eyelids or outer ears. Snakes are covered in overlapping scales that are not slimy, but are often surprisingly cool to the touch.
Snakes scales are made of keratin, which is also what our fingernails are made of.
There are over 3,000 species of snake known, from the massive 30 foot (9 meters) long Reticulated python, down to the tiny 4 inch (10 centimeter) long thread snake.
All snakes can, and will, bite if threatened, but only some have deadly venom. The snake has the ability to control how much venom to inject. Some scientists think all snakes have venom but only some have fangs to deliver the venom.
Harmless milk snakes are often mistaken for deadly coral snakes; both are red, yellow, and black. Here is a rhyme to remember “If red touches black, you're okay Jack, if red touches yellow, you're a dead fellow.”.
Australia is home to some of the world's most venomous snakes, including the Inland Taipan with enough venom to kill 100 people, yet Australia only sees an average of 1 human death per year by snake bite. It is India where most people die from snakebites, around 50,000 per year.
The minority of snakes, only 2% are dangerous to humans. The one that has killed the most people is the Asian Cobra, followed by the Black Mamba.
© by author's husband, venomous copperhead snakes.
Venomous snakes tend to have triangular shaped heads, while nonvenomous snakes usually have more rounded heads.
Snakes are carnivores, those that have venom use it to kill their prey before eating, those that do not have venom constrict their prey, suffocating it, before eating. In any case, snakes must swallow their prey whole, and try to swallow it head first so the legs bend naturally. A few are egg eating snakes that swallow whole eggs, crushing the shell once it is inside them.
As snakes are cold blooded, they need to be warm to digest their food and rest while digestion takes place.
You should not handle a snake that has recently eaten, it may just vomit up its entire prey.
Snakes swallow their prey by unhinging their jaw into 3 parts, allowing them to swallow prey five times larger than their head.
You might think that snakes are head and all tail, but this is not true, the snake actually does have a head, body, and tail section. The tail, which is actually quite short, is clearly defined because the vertebrae of the body have ribs and those in the tail section do not. All together a snake may have over 400 vertebrae.
Some snakes are more primitive, they still have tiny hind leg bones, remnants of what was the femur and ilium, these form tiny claws and are used in reproduction.
As mentioned earlier, snakes do not have eyelids, rather their eyes are covered with clear scales that shed when the snake sheds its normal skin, which is called moulting. When moulting this causes the eye to appear to have a white layer over top of it.
One trait that most people associate with snakes is the flicking of their tongue, this is done for smell.
Tree snakes have better vision than snakes that live on the ground. Some snakes, such as pit vipers and pythons, can perceive heat, but it is a myth that all snakes can.
Some snakes can swim, and others can spread their ribs to glide through the air.
Most snakes lay eggs but some have live births. Pythons and King Cobras will stay with the eggs until they hatch.
Although many people keep pets as snakes in most areas it is illegal to catch and keep wild snakes.
Pet snakes are sometimes fed live prey but often they are fed frozen, and warmed, food.