Snakes are often seen as scary, dangerous creatures. But while some people might find them to be frightening or scary, there are many who see them as beautiful and interesting creatures.
Regardless of your opinion on these slithering reptiles, it is important to know the facts. So here are some fascinating facts about snakes that might pique your interest!
- There’s No Sea Snakes Native To The Atlantic Ocean
Sea snakes, unlike their counterparts on land, have a flattened tail which helps them to swim in the water. They also possess a paddle-like fin on their heads which gives them more stability in the water.
Another distinguishing characteristic of sea snakes is their ability to tolerate saltwater, which allows them to live in coral reefs and marine habitats. You might’ve read before that there are no snakes native to the Atlantic Ocean. Although they are found in the Indian Ocean, parts of the Pacific Ocean, and Oceania too, they aren’t found in the Atlantic Ocean.
Nobody knows for sure right now why they aren’t there, but research is continuing as scientists try to answer this evolutionary enigma. One frequent explanation for this is that they simply can’t get to the Atlantic Ocean.
- Snakes Are A Big Family!
Did you know that snakes are a part of the reptile family? There are over 3,600 species of reptiles in the world. Of these, there are around 2,900 species of snakes. That means snakes make up about 80% of the entire reptile family! In other words, if you’ve ever seen a snake a few times in your life, it’s almost certainly a different species every time.
This doesn’t include the many subspecies of snakes that are categorized in their own groupings. As you’ll learn later, there are even more differences between these species that set them apart from each other.
- Snakes Have An Amazing Sense Of Smell
Snakes have a very strong sense of smell. They aren’t able to see the way we do, but their tongues pick up on all sorts of scents in the air around them. Their tongues are often used as a method for hunting and they help snakes find prey.
But did you know that it isn’t just any sort of tongue that snakes use? It’s actually their forked tongues that pick up on different scents and tastes. Scientists aren’t totally sure how it works, but they think each fork of the tongue picks up on unique information about an object.
- Snakes Don’t Have Eyelids
You might’ve noticed that snakes don’t blink their eyes. Like lizards, all snakes have clear scales over their eyes, called brille. They replace these each time snakes shed their skin so they don’t ever get too scratched up or dirty. This happens often, which is why snakes often look like they’re wearing eyeliner!
You may also notice that sometimes, mud or leaves stick to the eye-shields of a snake. The good news is it’s completely harmless and those bits will come off as the snake sheds its skin.
- They Are Ectotherms
You might be wondering what an ectotherm is. Well, the answer is that it’s a type of animal whose body temperature fluctuates with its environment. The opposite of this would be an endotherm, which are animals who have a stable internal temperature even in different environmental conditions.
Why does this matter? Well, they get their energy from external sources (such as the sun). To keep their bodies at their ideal temperature, they will alternate between basking in the sun and hiding in the shade. Snakes do not have the energy to digest their food or move around if they are not kept warm.
- They Have Poor Hearing and Sight
Unfortunately, snakes are not blessed with good eyesight. But they do have the ability to sense vibrations around them which helps them hunt their prey. This is often how they can tell what sort of creature is close by, even if it’s hidden deep in the ground or far away.
Snakes don’t have ears that you can see, but they do, like humans, have an inner ear that aids with balance. Snakes are generally deaf to noises in the air.
Snakes are some of the most unique creatures on Earth. They have an amazing sense of smell, forked tongues that help them taste and detect scents, and clear scales over their eyes. Unlike other animals, snakes don’t have eyelids and their body temperature fluctuates with their environment.
Despite not having good hearing or sight, snakes can sense vibrations around them to help them hunt prey. Snakes are a big part of the reptile family and there are many different species all over the world (except in the Atlantic Ocean).