Snakes are the marmite of the animal kingdom – you either love them or hate them. You should also fear a few of them. All in all, you should certainly learn plenty of interesting facts about snakes, especially if you plan to become a master of trivia competitions! We are here to help!
They have been slithering around the planet for around 170 million years and in that time, they have definitely made an impression. For centuries, different cultures and religions have used snakes to represent two opposing ideologies: good and evil. So let’s learn some interesting facts about snakes so you can complete your fun scientific baggage and even have a handful of fun facts about snakes to tell kids so you can bring them closer to nature, biology, and sciences in general!
Slytherin at Heart? Here are 50 Fassscinating Facts about Snakes You Should Know!
However you feel about snakes, you can’t deny they are captivating creatures. You wouldn’t be reading this article if you weren’t at least curious in finding out some interesting facts about snakes.
Whether you were looking for snakes specifically, or were in for some fun animal facts, you won’t be disappointed.
We have listed our top 30 fassscinating snake facts for you to make you realize that despite all this time together, they still hold some secrets of their own. At the end of this article, you will also get a short list of 20 fun facts about snakes that will make children fear them less and you more willing to accept that these creatures are not as bad as people say they are.
So What Are Snakes, Exactly?
Reptiles, of course, descended from lizards. But here is what you should know more. These legless, elongated reptiles belong to the suborder Serpentes and are, without any exception, carnivorous. They are present on all continents except Antarctica and, according to new studies, a handful of them
were slithering alongside pterodactyls and other dinosaurs as early as 167 million years ago.
Now that we dealt with this mystery – were snakes here together with the dinosaurs or not – let’s see the collection of interesting facts about snakes that we promised.
1. Food Poisoning? Um… No
There are only two snakes that are considered poisonous. Poisonous and venomous snakes are completely different. Poison means it is ingested and venomous means it is injected into the bloodstream. The Rhabdoophis keelback and some garter snakes acquire and store poisons from amphibians they eat in their diet and will spit the toxin at predators or prey.
3. Heat Vision
Some snakes can see heat signals and use this to hunt warm-blooded prey. They do this with the help of pits on their face. As you can easily figure out, snake vision and human vision employ quite different mechanisms.
3. Sick with Worry
If a snake is stressed or attacked after recently eating it will regurgitate its meal in order to escape.
4. Cowboys had it right
Here is a weird fact about venomous snakes, they deliver less venom when biting someone wearing denim.
5. Hunger Games like you wouldn’t believe
Snakes are well known for going long periods between meals, but some can actually survive for over 2 years with no food, and can digest their own heart when starved for too long.
Want more facts about snakes? Here’s a fun one about baby snakes: they can hunt immediately after hatching out of their shell. Baby snakes are born completely independent and capable of hunting and defending themselves.
Taipan one for the team
Kevin Budden, an amateur herpetologist, was killed by a coastal taipan when collecting venom. Despite being killed early in the process, he is still credited with the creation of the taipans’ antivenom saving countless lives.
8. Meet the Snake Man
Bill Haast, also known as the “Snake Man” injected himself daily with snake venom for over 60 years in an experiment to test if he could build immunity to the toxins. During his career, he was bitten at least 173 times by some of the most dangerous snakes known to man. His blood was used to save countless lives from the effects of snake venom, and he lived to the age of 100.
9. Snakes on a Plane
Samuel L. Jackson only accepted the role in Snakes on a Plane because of the title and threatened to leave productions when they suggested changing it.
10. Serpent Warfare
Hannibal Barca has gone down in history as one of the greatest strategic minds and military commanders of all time. He led his army across the Alps and to many victories, but one triumph in particular shows his tactical genius. Whilst in the middle of a naval battle, he filled clay pots with venomous snakes and commanded his men to throw them aboard enemy ships. This distracted and panicked the enemy and allowed Hannibal to claim the victory.
11. Tunnel Snakes
The Viet Cong also used snakes as physical and psychological warfare during the Vietnam War. They lined their secret underground tunnels with bamboo canisters loaded with bamboo vipers. If any Americans dared try to use the tunnels they would be met with a swift death.
12. April Fools? No Kiddin’!
Are you in for more cool facts about snakes? This one is not related to snakes per se, but with an event that will endure like a burnt scar in many peoples’ memories. On April fool’s day 2007 Google emailed the employees of their New York office that there was a python loose in the building. They weren’t joking! The ball python – by the name of Kaiser – was the pet of an engineer and has escaped. The story has a happy ending, in case you were wondering.
13. Welcome to the Snake House!
An Idaho family thought they had the deal of a lifetime when they found a 5-bedroom house cheap. They were told the previous family stopped paying, making ridiculous claims of snakes in the house. There were no snakes, and so they signed the papers. Not long after moving in, they began to find snakes everywhere. In the kitchen cupboards, slithering through the walls and carpeting the back garden. It turned out that the house was built on top of a hibernaculum, a congregational spot for snakes to hibernate together. I guess this isn’t one of those facts about snakes you’d like to experience first hand…
14. Happy Meal
A snake in Tokyo Zoo became best friends with its meal. The zookeepers gave the rat snake a live hamster for dinner and instead of eating the cute little feller, the snake kept him as his friend and pet. Gohan the hamster and Aochan the rat snake made an odd couple to say the least, as the furry critter loved the snake back. So this is also a happy-ending story.
You probably know this already, as it is one of the most popular facts about snakes: they have adapted their jaw to allow them to open them to 150 degrees wide. Instead of being fused directly to the skull, it is connected by loose ligaments. This means that they can’t chew their food but are able to eat animals up to double their size.
16. Independent Halves
Next on our list of fun facts about snakes is the one with the jaws. Not the movie by the same name, though. Snakes can move either side of their jaw independently of one another.
17. Black Death
The black mamba (and we don’t mean Uma Thurman’s Beatrix Kiddo) is one of the deadliest snakes on the planet. An untreated bite has a 100% mortality rate. It only takes two drops of the venom to kill a full-grown adult human in twenty minutes. When it comes to general facts about snakes, this one wins you trivia night and maybe save your life, depending on where you like to spend your vacations…
18. You’re as cold as ice…
Snakes are cold-blooded (ectothermic), meaning that they rely on their surroundings to warm their bodies. It means that in warmer climates they are warmer and able to move and digest food faster. Besides reptiles, frogs are also ectothermic, in case you wanted to know.
19. Where we’re going, we don’t need legs
Some of the more primitive snakes such as pythons and boas have vestigial hind limbs – that is, remnants of what once were legs on ancient ancestors. These remain today as tiny claws known as a pelvic spur.
20. Lapping it up
Snakes flick their tongue to pick on smells and chemicals in the air. They collect particles on their tongue and deliver them to small openings on the top of their mouth known as the Jacobson’s organ. This organ will analyze any stimuli and elicit the appropriate response. Did you ever wonder how smell works in humans versus snakes? Now you know!
21. Staring Contest
Don’t get into a staring contest with a snake. It is not a battle you will win. Snakes have no eyelids and can’t blink. Instead of eyelids they have a thin layer of transparent skin called brille that covers and protect their eyes.
22. Warning Shot
Most cases of snake bites are defensive attacks, and many will not inject any venom when they bite. That doesn’t mean that you should get any closer, they don’t do this to be nice, they don’t want to waste the venom on you.
23. No Friendly Fire
Another one of our cool facts about snakes says that they are immune to their own venom and those of their species, but not to the venom of other species. So a killer snake can kill another killer snake if they come from different species. Boy, this sounds vicious!
24. Sticking your neck out
Some snakes can project their windpipe out of their mouths to avoid choking on large prey.
25. Give the Evil Eye
The black-necked spitting cobra likes to aim for your eyes and has perfect accuracy up to 7 meters away. The venom can cause permanent blindness in its victims. If you ever stumble upon the nickname “Cobra Sniper” in some blockbuster, action-packed movie, you heard it here first!
26. Freaky Friday
If you survive the initial bite and envenoming of a Russell’s viper you aren’t out of the woods yet! The venom can wreak havoc on the hormone producing pituitary gland causing you to undergo a sort of “reverse puberty”. The victims lose their fertility, sex drive and body hair, in addition to loss of body definition and some cognitive abilities.
27. Heat Thief
Male garter snakes steal other snakes’ heat to stay warm. They imitate female hormones, manipulating other male garter snakes to believe they are she-snakes. Other males will entwine and rub around the “female” sharing their heat.
28. Flame On!
The California ground squirrel is immune to rattle snake venom. They will also warn a rattlesnake that it is aware of its presence by heating up its tail.
30. Heads or Tails
The last – but not least – entry on our list of general facts about snakes is about a coral snake. The Sonoran coral snake has an unusual defense mechanism. When threatened, it will lift its tail to look like its head and will fart to scare predators away.
20 Fun Facts about Snakes You Should Know
Here are our additional 20 interesting facts about snakes that will propel you among the biology and animal facts masters in your group of knowledge buffs.
- The largest snake in the world in the wild is the Green Anaconda, measuring a whooping 550 pounds weight.
- The likeliest largest captive snake in the world is “Ginormica” – a 200-pound, 20-foot-long reticulated python.
- The world also has the shortest snake – at four inches long, the thread snake lives in the Caribbean (the isle of Barbados).
- The most venomous snake in the world is the inland taipan (Oxyuranus microlepidotus). However, the black mamba is a fierce competitor for the title “world’s most dangerous snake” because it is also very fast, very aggressive and easily annoyed, lethally venomous, and carrying quite a death toll together with a dark reputation.
- King Cobra is the longest venomous snake in the world and has few enemies and predators. However, the mongoose is famous for being able to fight and kill venomous snakes, cobras in particular.
- Anacondas bear the name of “man eaters”, although there is no proof of people actually being eaten by these snakes. However, the general scientific consensus is that anacondas could, in theory, eat an adult whole.
- Humans seem to have an evolutionary fear of snakes, as snake phobias seem to be common to one third of the population.
- Keratin is the main “ingredient” in rattle snakes’ rattles – the same material found in human fingernails and hair.
- Some snakes have over 200 teeth. As we said before, snakes do not chew their food, but the inward-oriented teeth are there to prevent prey from escaping their mouths.
- There is such a thing as a flying snake. Yes, we know. Nature had a bizarre sense of humor when it comes to snakes.
- Are you interested in facts about what snakes eat? Scientists found that the amount of food a snake eats is determinant to how many offspring it will have.
- Snakes sleep with their eyes open. Not that they have eyelids or something.
- Only venomous snakes have fangs.
- As opposed to many animals in the world, a snake never stops from growing.
- Do you want more interesting facts about snakes? We do not wish you to meet a two-headed snake in the wild, as they exists, just like co-joined twins exist in the human world. Luckily for our sense of sanity, it is highly unlikely for us to meet such a snake in the wild, as it cannot survive for long.
- Since they are elongated animals, snakes have their internal organs disposed in a linear pattern rather than in pairs (as we have lungs, or kidneys).
- Speaking of lungs, some snake varieties can have one, two, or even three lungs.
- Have you ever wondered why one of the most prominent symbols in medicine is the snake? It is on Asclepius’s (god of medicine) staff and makes it into almost all logos of medical clinics and pharmacies. This is because the snake is associated with transformation, healing, and rebirth, because snakes shed their skin.
- The lifespan of a snake depends on its species, so their life length varies between 4 and 25 years.
- A newly discovered disorder in snakes – called the Mad Snake Disease – determines pythons and boas in captivity to tie themselves in knots. It is fatal and its causes are still under scrutiny.
There we have it, our top 50 fun facts about snakes. We hope that you have found these as fassscinating as we did. Comment and share your cool facts about snakes, or any other strange animal facts you may know in the comments section below. If you per chance are able to speak reptomite, leave us a message and we will get back to you!
- A Resistant Predator and Its Toxic Prey: Persistence of Newt Toxins Leads to Poisonous (Not Venomous) Snakes
- Toxin ophthalmia caused by nuchal gland secretion of the Taiwan tiger keelback (Rhabdophis tigrinus formosanus)
- Wide-band spectral tuning of heat receptors in the pit organ of copperhead snake (Crotalinae)
- The Infrared Receptors of Snakes
- Wikipedia: Serpent Symbolism
- Serpent Iconography
- Denim Clothing Reduces Venom Expenditure by Rattlesnakes Striking Defensively at Model Human limbs
- Snakes Survive Starvation by employing supply and demand side economic strategies
- Extreme starvation tolerance in snakes: a model system for resource limitation
- Activity cycles and foraging behaviours of free-ranging sidewinder rattlesnakes
- Antipredator behaviour of hatchling snakes
- Australia’s Dangerous Snakes
- Wikipedia: Kevin Budden
- Wikipedia: Taipans
- NYT: Bill Haast, a Man Charmed by Snakes, Dies at 100.
- Snake man is master of poison and cure
- Wikipedia: Bill Haast
- Wikipedia: Snakes on a Plane
- Wikipedia: Hannibal
- War History Online: Hannibal Barca – Rome’s Most Dangerous Enemy
- History Channel: Cu Chi Tunnel
- War History Online: Booby Traps of the Vietnam War
- Mental Floss: 10 serious things that happened on April 1.
- CNN: Latest Google Search: A Python in the office
- ABC News: ‘Snake House’: Family Home in Idaho Turns Out to Be ‘Satan’s Lair’ of Serpents
- The Guardian: Idaho snake house! Infestation forces young family to flee
- NBC News: Hamster, snake best friends at Tokyo Zoo
- BBC News: Snake ‘befriends’ snack hamster
- “The Snake” and the agrarian rituals
- Kinesis of the Jaw apparatus During Swallowing in the Cottonmouth Snake
- PBS: Black Mamba
- LiveScience: Black Mamba
- The Thermal Dependence of Locomotion, Tongue Flicking, Digestion, and Oxygen Consumption in the Wandering Garter Snake
- The thermogenesis of digestion in rattlesnakes
- Vestigial Forelimbs and Axial Elongation in a 95 Million Year Old Non-Snake Squamate
- Wikipedia: Pelvic Spur
- National Geographic: Why Snakes Don’t Have Legs (For Now)
- Vomeronasal organ
- Of tongues and noses: chemoreception in lizards and snakes
- Wikipedia: Brille
- Catalina Island Conservancy: Rattlesnakes don’t have eyelids
- “Dry bite” in venomous snakes: A Review
- The Repitpage: Snake Venom
- Mental Floss: Are Snakes Immune to Their Own Venom?
- On the Question of Immunity of Snakes
- Reptiles Magazine: Snake Respiratory System
- Dickson County Conservation Board: How A Snake Breathes While It Eats
- The spitting behaviour of two species of spitting cobras
- Cobras spit venom at eyes with nearly perfect aim
- Gizmodo: The snake whose bite can send you back through puberty.
- Business Insider: Watch Snake Venom’s Instantaneous and Terrifying Effect on Blood
- Wikipedia: Kleptothermia
- Wikipedia: Garter Snakes
- Facultative pheromonal mimicry in snakes: “she-males” attract courtship only when it is useful
- Pheromone mimicry in garter snakes
- Resistance of California ground squirrels to the venom of the northern Pacific rattlesnake: a study of adaptive variation
- Coevolution of venom function and venom resistance in a rattlesnake predator and its squirrel prey
- Predation on sun bears by reticulated python in East Kilimantan, Indonesian Borneo
- Guinness World Record: Longest snake in captivity ever
- Wikipedia: Sonoran Coral Snake
- Live Science: Coral Snakes – Colours, bites, farts and facts
Did You Enjoy our Cool Facts about Snakes?
There we have it, 50 of the most exciting, strange, and fun facts about snakes. We hope that you have found them as entertaining and mind-boggling as we did. There are millions of more fun animal facts to be discovered – especially about reptiles -, so if you have any of your own that you would love to share, then please comment below!