Today we will discuss some important facts about SNAKES!!! Though they are classified as a reptile; it is very difficult to club them with other reptiles as they have gone through so many structural changes in their life.
There is so much misconception about this animal which is a wonderful example of adaptation to the habitat. We hope to clear some misconception through this article.
There are more than 3000 species of snakes found in the world. Among them only a few have venom and among those venomous snakes, only a few are deadly to men.
Snakes can be found in almost all the continents except Antarctica. A few islands such as New Zealand, Ireland, Iceland are devoid of snakes.
The largest size which has been reported is of reticulated python (30 ft), whereas the smallest size is of 4 inches in length (Leptotyphlops carlae).
All snakes are carnivorous. They prey on birds, reptiles, fish, rats etc.
Snakes use smell to track their prey. Their forked tongue and Jacobson’s organ play a very important role in this. Snakes can not bite their food so they swallow the whole prey. They have a very flexible lower jaw for this.
A snake’s tongue is very efficient in sampling particles from air, water or ground.
Some snakes like pit vipers, boas, pythons etc have infrared-sensitive organs. This allows them to detect warm-blooded animals.
Snakes are not slimy like worms. Their skin is covered with dry scales. They use their belly scales for movement.
Snakes keep their eyes open while sleeping. That is because they don’t have movable eyelids.
We all know that snakes shed their scales, this process is called molting. It serves a dual purpose. It gets rid of mites, ticks, and other parasites and also gets a fresh skin replacing their worn off one.
Unlike humans, the teeth of snakes are constantly replaced with a new one throughout their whole life.
The venom of a snake is actually their saliva. Once injected in its prey it causes damage to the cells. Snakes use this to immobilize or kill their prey.
Though there are many types of toxin present in the venom of a snake, the toxin is generally classified into two categories:
- Hemotoxin(this attacks the circulatory system of the prey) and
- Neurotoxin (this attacks the nervous system of the prey).
Most of the snakes lay eggs but contrary to the belief, some species of snakes have found to be viviparous i.e, they nurse their young ones.
For ages, snakes have been portrayed as evil. But these wonderful creatures are rather reactive in nature and try to avoid human interactions as far as possible.
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