Snakes are fascinating creatures on the earth and at the same time, one of the most feared also. Here are some of the interesting facts about snakes that will surely blow your mind!
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Snakes are limbless and elongated reptiles. There are more than 20 snake families that have been recognized which comprise about 520 genera and about 3600 species all around the world. Out of these only 600 are venomous snakes.
Snakes that are poisonous have pupils that are shaped like a diamond. Non-poisonous snakes have round pupils
These are carnivore’s reptiles. There are some snakes which can survive without food for up to two years. They range in size from the tiny, 10.4 cm (4.1 in)-long thread snake to the reticulated python of 6.95 meters (22.8 ft) in length
They are believed to have evolved from four-legged reptilian ancestors, between 112 and 94 million years ago. Some snakes, such as pythons and boas, still have traces of back legs.
Snakes can live from 4 to over 25 years, depending on the species.
Snakes are found in almost every part of the world. Most of the Snakes are found in tropical regions. Snakes are found in water, forest, deserts, grasslands and swamps. Snakes are not found in Antarctica, Iceland, Ireland, Greenland and New Zealand.
Snakes can live in almost any environment, ranging from jungles and deserts to lakes and mountains.
Top ten deadliest snakes are found in Australia. Some of the most venomous snakes in the world are the inland taipan, the eastern brown snake, the coastal taipan, the tiger snake, and the black tiger snake
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Rodents, birds, frogs, termites, even small deer and other reptiles are the main foods of the snakes. Snakes cannot bite so they completely swallow their prey. Snakes can eat prey three times larger than the diameter of their head.
Snakes have flexible jaws, their upper and lower jaws can get separate thus help in eating prey bigger than their head. Moreover, snakes have rear-facing teeth which don’t allow prey to escape.
The warmer a snake’s body, the more quickly it can digest its prey. Typically, it takes 3–5 days for a snake to digest its meal. For very large snakes, such as the anaconda, digestion can take weeks.
Venomous snakes like the cobra and black mamba use their venom to hunt and kill their prey.
Constrictors snakes like pythons and anacondas kill their prey by wrapping around it and suffocating them to death and thus the name constrictors.
Snakes hunt mostly during the night. Anacondas and python can survive without food for up to a year. There are some snakes that can survive for up to two years without a meal. They can lower their standard metabolic rates considerably, some of them by up to 72 percent.
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The Green Anaconda is world’s heaviest snake they can grow up to 550 pounds and is native to tropical rainforests of South America.
The King Cobra is the longest venomous snake and can grow up to 5.7 meters (18.8 feet) long
The Reticulated Python is world’s longest snake and can grow up to 30 feet long, which makes it big enough to swallow a pig, a deer, or even a person.
The smallest snake in the world is Barbados Thread Snake which grows to 10 centimetres only. It is native of Barbados in the Caribbean. It is said to be as “thin as spaghetti” and it feeds primarily on termites and larvae.
The Titanoboa is an extinct snake which lived 60-58 million years ago. It is the largest, longest and heaviest snake ever discovered.
Researchers estimated by comparing the fossil vertebrae and found its length to be about 12.8m (42ft) and weight about 1135 kg.
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The Boomslang is a fearful snake and generally bites when people try to catch or kill it. It is one of the most in Africa. Its venom is primarily hemotoxin which disables blood clotting, destroys red blood cells and tissues leading to organ failure.
The boomslang snake’s venom causes you to bleed from all holes in your body.
Furthermore, victims will bleed out of every possible exit, including gums, nostrils and even the tiniest of cuts. Blood also flows out from victim’s body via his stools, urine, saliva and vomit until they die.
Its venom is featured in Agatha Christie’s thriller, Death in the clouds.
Ilha da Queimada Grande Island has almost up to 5 snakes per square meter. It is an island, off the shore of Brazil, 93 miles away from Sau Paulo downtown. The snakes live on the migratory birds over there. Civilians are forbidden to go there.
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Every year snakes kill almost 100,000 people around the world. Interestingly, bees kill more people than snakes each year; mosquitoes cause over a million human deaths annually.
The black mamba is Africa’s deadliest snake. The mortality rate of its bite is 100 percent, making it a killer among killers on a continent where nearly 20,000 people die of snake bites each year.
Snakes hibernate during the winter and shed their skin three to six times per year.
Most of the snake species lay eggs, but some species like boas, rattlesnakes and garter snakes give birth to live young. Eggs and young ones are not cared or protected by the male or female snakes
Some of the exceptions are African rock python and King Cobras. In contrast to other snakes, King Cobra mothers are very dedicated and make a nest for their eggs. They protect their eggs delicately and get very aggressive if someone tries to harm their eggs.
African rock python mothers take care and protect their offsprings up to four months of age. They protect their offspring even at great cost to their own health. In fact, apart from basking near the burrow to warm their bodies and in turn, their eggs, these python mothers do not eat at all during the six-month breeding cycle and lose almost half of their weight.
Some More Random and Bizzare Facts about Snakes
- Snakes are immune to their own venom and venom of close relatives, but not to the venom of other species of snakes.
- The grasshopper mouse eats scorpions, centipedes, snakes and even other mice.
- Snakes don’t have eyelids, so are unable to close their eyes. They can’t blink and they sleep with their eyes open. They have a single transparent scale called a brille protects their eyes.
- Snakes use their tongues to smell, they flick their tongue in the air, it picks up tiny chemical particles. The vomeronasal system takes those tiny chemical particles and tells the snake what they are.
- The decapitated head of a dead snake can still bite, even hours after death. These types of bites usually contain huge amounts of venom.
- The fear of snakes is called Ophiophobia and it is one of the most common phobias in the world.
- The death adder can attack, inject venom, and go back to the striking position in under 0.15 seconds. It has the fastest strike rate.
- Snakes can sense other animals approaching by detecting faint vibrations in the air and on the ground. They do not have external ears or eardrums, their skin, muscles, and bones carry sound vibrations to their inner ears.
- Spitting cobra can spit venom over 8 feet away and can spit from any position, lying on the ground or raised up. It prefers to aim for its victim’s eyes.
- Sea snakes can dive over 300 feet into the ocean.
- The King Cobras are the only spices of snakes in the world that build a nest for their eggs
- The black mamba is the world’s fastest snake, it can reach speeds of up to 12 mph (19kph)
- St. Lucia racer is the rarest and endangered snake. Only 18 to 100 of these snakes are left.
- Snakes can have two heads and fight each other for food. Such snakes rarely survive in the wild as the two heads have duplicate senses, they fight over food, and one head may try to eat the other head.
- Flying or gliding snakes are native to Southeast Asia and can glide over a distance of 330 ft (100m) through the air.
- Sonoran Coral Snake, instead of hissing or rattling, farts when threatened.