Snake Facts

Snakes are reptiles. There are at least 20 families, 500 genera, and 3,400 species of snakes.

They have long, slender bodies that protect them and enable them to climb. Thermal infrared allows them to detect warm-blooded animals.

They are mostly found in trees or on the ground, but some also live in water.

Quick Navigation

Snake Facts for Kids

  • Snakes are carnivores
  • They smell with their tongue
  • They are found on every continent but Antarctica
  • More than 3,400 snake species exist
  • They can’t bite food, so they have to swallow it whole
  • They can eat prey larger than their heads thanks to their flexible jaws

What is the difference between a venomous and nonvenomous snake?

Snakes are mostly nonvenomous. Their venom is mainly used for killing and subduing prey, not for self-defense.

There are many ways to tell the difference between venomous and nonvenomous snakes.

Here are three key distinctions:

  • A venomous snake has a triangular head
  • A nonvenomous snake doesn’t have a triangular head
  • The shape of the pupil determines whether it is venomous or not
  • Venomous snakes have elliptical pupils, while nonvenomous snakes have round pupils
  • Scales along the tail are another way to determine if it’s venomous or not

What is the most venomous snake in the world?

The Inland Taipan is found in Australia. This snake has the most toxic venom of any other species on earth.

How do snakes move?

There are a few different ways that snakes can move around. The most common way is called concertina motion, and it happens when the snake squeezes its body together and then pushes out again. This type of movement is easy for snakes, and they can do it very quickly!

The second most common way for snakes to move is lateral undulation. This happens when the snake moves from side to side in order to propel itself forward. This type of movement is a little more difficult than concertina motion but still possible for snakes.

Snakes can also “walk” across uneven surfaces by using their chin and tail. They push themselves forward with their bellies, pulling themselves along with their back feet. This method of locomotion is especially useful if the snake needs to cross water or climb up a tree!

What do snakes eat?

There are all sorts of snakes in the world, and they eat all sorts of different things! Some snakes, like cobras and vipers, use venom for hunting their prey. But most snakes just swallow their food whole without using poison.

Snakes eat a variety of foods, from mice and termites to eggs and tiny sea creatures. They’re carnivores, meaning they only eat meat. And they mostly eat rodents–mice, rats, and other small animals.

Snakes rely on enzymes to break down their prey into usable energy. And they don’t have a preferred diet–they’ll eat whatever is available to them. That’s why you can find snakes living in all kinds of different environments around the world.

What is the life cycle of a snake?

Snakes start their life cycle at the egg stage and end at the adult stage. Some snake species give birth to young without an egg stage. 

Stage 1 – Eggs

Fertilized eggs are laid under rocks or in shallow holes by the female. The snake’s egg’s outer covering is soft, resembling leather. Her eggs are guarded and cared for until they hatch.

Stage 2 – Young Snakes

Snake species twitch their muscles to warm the eggs, so they hatch faster. The juvenile snake emerges from the egg cover by biting the egg tooth. It gets nutrition from the yolk until then. A snakelet is a baby snake. A hatchling is a just-hatched snake. 

They feed on small reptiles and rodents. Snakes shed their skin up to four times a year.

Stage 3 – Adult Snakes

Snakes reach maturity within 2 – 4 years. 

Molting frequency distinguishes a young snake from an older snake. 

Juvenile snakes shed their skin four times a year, while adult snakes shed only once or twice per year. 

Replacing the skin of snakes does not have a significant effect on their growth as it does for insects, where molting allows organisms to grow.

How do snakes shed their skin?

Shedding a snake’s skin is an important process that helps keep them healthy. Snakes will usually shed their skin a couple of times a year, depending on the species.

The shedding process varies, but it usually happens when the snake is less active – during winter and spring – because food is harder to find.

Snake skin doesn’t stretch like human skin, so they have to molt or shed as they grow. Scales appear dull before shedding because their top layer of skin separates from the layers beneath it.

Shedding will occur in patches or as one long piece, depending on how fast or slow the snake wants to shed its skin.

After snakes shed, they return to their bright new cover of scales.

What are some of the predators of snakes?

There are a variety of predators that snakes face, depending on their location and species.

Snakes in the wild have to worry about being eaten by other animals, such as

  • Coyotes
  • Raccoons
  • Opossums
  • Hawks
  • Mongooses
  • Honey badgers
  • Bobcats
  • Foxes
  • Owls
  • Eagles

Many people think that all snakes are venomous and dangerous  – but this isn’t true. There are many snake species that pose no harm to us and can even be beneficial (like the rat snake, which preys on rodents).

Are there any benefits to having snakes around?

There are many benefits to having snakes around. For one, they help keep the rodent population down.

They also play an important role in the food chain by helping to control the populations of other animals.

Snakes are also very beneficial when it comes to pest control. Some people even use them to rid their property of harmful pests like rats and mice.