Did you know that snakes can be found on every continent in the world except for Antarctica?
Snakes are a fascinating group of reptiles that have captured the imagination of humans for centuries. They are elongated, legless, carnivorous animals that come in a wide range of colors, patterns, and sizes. Some species can grow to be several meters long, while others are just a few centimeters in length.
They’re known for their distinctive physical features, including their forked tongues, scales, and flexible bodies. They are cold-blooded animals that regulate their body temperature by basking in the sun or seeking shade.
Here are six slithering facts about snakes.
- Around the world, there are more than 3,000 species of snakes. (source) Snakes are found everywhere in the world except in New Zealand, Greenland, Ireland, Iceland, and Antarctica. Of the more than 3,000 species out there, about 600 of them are considered to be venomous, and about 200 of them (approximately 7%) would actually significantly wound or even kill a human.
- Snakes have bones. (source) Although they’re very flexible, snakes are known as vertebrate, or animals with bones. A snake’s back bone is actually made up of many vertebrae that are attached to the ribs. While humans have 24 ribs and 206 bones in their bodies, snakes can actually have up to 33 ribs and even up to 1,200 bones!
- Snakes can travel as fast as 12.5 miles per hour. (source) Snakes can move surprisingly fast, despite not having any limbs. In North America, the fastest snake is the coachwhip species, which can slither at speeds of up to 3.6 miles per hour. However, the fastest snake in the world is the black mamba, which can travel as fast as 12.5 miles per hour. Not only that, but while slithering, black mambas are known to lift a third of their body up off of the ground. To pull themselves off the ground, snakes us their lateral muscles and belly scales.
- In Brazil, there is an island that only has snakes. (source) Sitting between Brazil and the Atlantic Ocean is what’s called Ilha da Queimada Grande, which is more commonly known as “Snake Island.” It houses a snake population of about five snakes every square meter, and even if you want to see the island in person, it’s off-limits to tourists.
- Snakes shed their skin. (source) While snakes are always growing, their skin doesn’t grow with them. That old layer of skin begins to become too tight and snakes ultimately have to shed it. They actually shed their skin between four and twelve times each year on average.
- Snakes don’t have eyelids. (source) This is just one reason of many as to why snakes are creepy! They don’t have eyelids, they don’t blink, and they sleep with their eyes wide open. Instead of eyelids, snakes have what are known as brille, which is a thin screen or membrane that protects them.
There are so many different species of snakes around the world. Do you have any fun snake facts to share? Let us know in the comments!