All about snakes. What are snakes? Are snakes just lizards without legs? If you want to know more

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1 Day 83 12/29/2017 All about snakes What are snakes? Are snakes just lizards without legs? If you want to know more keep reading to find out the answers to the question. The purpose of this paper is to help learn the basic facts about snakes. What do snakes look like? All snakes have bodies covered in scales, while their size and color differ greatly from one species to another. They can be black, brown, dark blue, and blackish green to vibrant shades of red, yellow, orange, and green. At the front of their head are two small eyes, a pair of nostrils, and poisonous snakes have heat sensors that can be seen as a row of tiny 'dots' around the edge of the upper jaw. Inside their mouth they have a forked tongue to smell their surroundings. All snakes have internal ears and no eyelids. Where do snakes live? Snakes live in every continent in the world except for New Zealand, Ireland, Iceland, and Antarctica. So they live in Europe, Asia, Australia, North America, South America, and Africa. All snakes habitats vary (grasslands, meadows, mountains, desserts, urban areas, wetlands, ponds, rivers, and even the oceans). They usually live in caves and ground burrows, gardens, backyards, and attics.

2 What do snakes eat? Snakes are carnivores which means they will eat only meat including each other. Some snakes are hunters while others will lie and wait to ambush their prey. Most snakes live off of insects, rodents, birds, eggs, fish, frogs, lizards, and small mammals. All snakes swallow their food whole. While they do have teeth, the teeth are made for grabbing, hooking, and holding their prey not chewing it. Constrictors will grab and hold their prey while wrapping their bodies around the victim and slowly constricting or tightening their coils until they squeeze the last breath out of their prey and the heart stops. Cobras, Vipers, Rattlesnakes, and other venomous snakes will maim or paralyze their prey by sinking their fangs into it before swallowing it. Have you ever wondered how a snake can swallow such big meals without chewing? Snakes have powerful muscles all along the front half of their bodies. They use these muscles for moving and swallowing. The muscles move the food down along the throat and into the snake s long stomach. Moving the food through the throat into the stomach can take 10 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the animal they are eating. In egg-eating snakes the sharp rib bones will poke through the eggshell to help speed along digestion. Food in the snake s stomach can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of months to breakup or digest. That is a long time to work on a meal! Believe it or not, some snakes only need to eat a couple times a year! How many snakes are poisonous? There are approximately 3,000 different snake species in the world. Out of the 3,000 species of snakes there are about 600 different

3 species of venomous snakes. 250 of these snakes are capable of killing a man with one bite. On average 7,000 people are bitten a year but only a few of those people die. When do snakes mate? Snakes will usually mate in spring, normally right after hibernation ends in colder climates. In the tropics mating can happen any time of the year. Male snakes will try to attract a female by fighting with other males who want her attention. They do not try to kill each other they want to win the fight! With so many different species there are snakes of many different sizes. The world's smallest snake is the thread snake which grows to only about 3.9 inches (10 centimeters) long. It looks much like an earthworm. The largest snake the reticulated python, can grow to 30 feet (9 meters). The largest snake fossil ever discovered is called the Titanoboa. This creature lived hundreds of years ago and would have been 50 feet (15 meters) long. It is a common misconception that snakes build nests for their eggs. Only one species of snake, the king cobra, will build a nest for its young. Only about 70 percent of snakes lay eggs. These types of snakes are called oviparous. The other 30 percent give birth to live young like mammals. This is because some climates are too cold for eggs to develop and hatch so snakes living in colder climates do not lay eggs. Do snakes hibernate? The answer to that question is yes. Snakes hibernate throughout the winter to conserve body energy. Snakes are cold-blooded reptiles whose

4 body temperature depends on external influences. Hibernation in snakes is also referred to as wintering, dormancy, or brumation. Are snakes aggressive? Most species of snakes aren t aggressive but they have a terrible reputation about them being out to attack humans. They will usually retreat from any forms of danger that they may detect around them. However, if they start to feel like they are in trouble they will strike in order to protect themselves. What are some characteristics of a snake? The body of any snake is very interesting. It is long and flexible which allows them to stretch out or to coil up. Most of them don t have any limbs so they have to use that body to help them climb and to move around on the ground. Snakes can move along very quietly though and they can also be very fast. Due to the design of their body they only have one lung. They do have two kidneys but they are one in front of the other rather than side by side. The skull is larger than the rest of the body. They have a column of vertebrae and many ribs. The skull is solid and has a protective covering for the brain. The jaw bones are very mobile and that is how they are able to successful consume prey that is very big. There is a flexible ligament in the jaws and that is why they are able to separate and widely to unbelievable lengths when they are ready to eat. There can be up to 400 vertebrae in the column of any given snake. The number of vertebrae

5 will depend on the overall length as well as the species of snake. There are two ribs per vertebrae down the length of the body with the exception of the tail. In conclusion snakes are elongated, legless, and carnivorous reptiles that are found on most continents in the world. There are about 3,000 different species of snakes and out of those species only 600 are venomous. All snakes sizes vary and they are very flexible because of their bone structure.

6 Works Cited Venomous snake facts. Sciencekids, 8 Jul. 2016, Fun snake facts for kids. Sciencekids, 8 Jul. 2016, Supersnakes. Nationalgeographic, , Snake facts. Factslides, , Snake facts. Reptile gardens,

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