Fun Facts About Snakes

Did you know that Snake Day is July 16th? Snakes definitely need some good pr. They are often maligned, in mythology, superstition, and just general opinion. However, these unique creatures are quite fascinating. Read on as an Anderson, IN vet lists some fun facts about snakes.


There are more than 3000 types of snakes (that we know of). They live on every continent except Antarctica, and range from the itty bitty Barbados threadsnake to the massive snakes, such as anacondas and reticulated pythons.

Snake Bite

One of the most unique things about snakes is the way their mouths and jaws are structured. They can’t chew, so they swallow their food whole. They also have jaw hinges that allow their mouths to open very wide. This allows them to eat things that are bigger than their heads!


Different types of snakes use different tactics to hunt. Many rely on vibrations and scents, which they pick up from the air using their tongues. Some, like cobras, kill their prey using venom. Pythons, on the other hand, wrap themselves around their victims and suffocate them. This is called constriction, which of course explains the name boa constrictor.


Speaking of venomous snakes, there are about 750 kinds of them. Fortunately for us, only about 250 of those can kill us. There is one way to tell if a snake is venomous or not. Poisonous snakes have thin, slitted pupils. Non-poisonous snakes have round pupils. Of course, if in doubt, you don’t want to get close enough to check.

Scaling Up

Although snakes are often thought of as slimy, their scales are actually quite smooth. They are made of keratin, the same substance our nails and hair are made of. Scales also have several different functions, which will vary depending on the type of snake. For snakes that live in water, the scales help them breathe, almost as gills do with fish. For snakes that live in arid climates, the scales help them retain water. Scales also provide snakes with traction, allowing them to move over various terrains.


Most, but not all, snakes lay eggs. About a third of them actually give birth to live young. These species include water snakes, boa constrictors, rainbow boas, tree boas, sand boas and anacondas.

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