Did you know that Australia is home to approximately 140 land snake species? Queensland is home to about 120 species of snakes.
Here are our top 7 reasons that we believe that snakes are amazing animals. Not just that but we want you think the same and understand why they deserve our protection.
1. They have a very big family
The number of snake species is continually going up! According to the latest count, there are 3,789 snake species. That makes them the second-largest group of reptiles after lizards. Snakes are divided into 30 different families and lots of subfamilies.
2. Snakes are “solar-powered”. They depend on external heat or light sources
Sometimes reptiles are incorrectly labelled as ‘cold-blooded’. That isn’t actually true. In fact, their blood isn’t actually cold. The proper term to describe them is ectothermic. That means that their body temperature is variable.
It is unusual in that it is regulated by external sources. They are not like mammals or birds in this respect. They are not able to regulate their body temperature themselves. Snakes, as with all reptiles need to use sources of heat to warm up. That is why you will often see snakes basking in the sun. They are soaking up all that warmth to help them regulate.
3. Not all snakes lay eggs
You might have learned in school that one way that reptiles are different from mammals is that they lay eggs. We are sometimes a little guilty of wanting to classify and categorize everything. Now and again, nature has its own rules which makes that more difficult to do. It is true that around 70% of snakes lay eggs. So that means that about 30% don’t! Snakes that live in colder climates give birth to live babies. This is because the eggs wouldn’t survive outside and live births have a much higher chance of survival.
4. Snakes don’t have eyelids
There are a couple of reasons we could feel uneasy around snakes. One could be that snakes don’t blink! They don’t have eyelids so have to sleep with their eyes wide open. Instead of eyelids, they have a thin membrane that is attached to each eye. This membrane protects the eyes in much the same wayas eyelids do. to protect them. The membrane is called the ‘brille,’ which in German means glasses.
5. Snakes smell with their tongues
Snakes do have nostrils, but surprisingly they don’t use them to smell. Instead, they have evolved a very special way of ‘smelling’. They do it with their tongue. They have a special tool called their Jacobson’s organ. You can find this in the roof of their mouth. Their sense of smell is really very good. It is often described as “smelling in stereo”. Snakes have a forked tongue and lots of receptors. These are used to pick up different types of chemical cues to keep the snake informed about its surroundings.
6. Their table manners are very different than ours
When snakes eat, they are unable to chew their food. They have no choice but to swallow it whole because they can’t chew. Snakes don’t have teeth! Instead, they have incredibly flexible lower jaws. These allow them to eat animals that are 75% – 100% larger than their own head. The chemicals in their digestive tract will get to work as soon as they swallow. These chemicals break down the food once ingested.
7. Snakes have 5 forms of movement allowing them to get around
Think about a snake moving through the grass. Most people will picture the exact same scene. Did you see the well-known s-movement?
It wouldn’t be surprising if you did. This is the most common form of locomotion in snakes. The correct term is lateral undulation. Most would call it slithering.
But snakes have four other types of movement. Arboreal snakes, for example, use a form of locomotion that uses seven times more energy, called concertina. There is even a special locomotion used for when a snake tries to escape on a smooth surface, known as slide pushing.
In short, snakes really are incredible creatures and deserve to coexist in this big wide world of ours. Lets start learning more about them in order to feel a real connection with them.
Snakes deserve our protection. If you want to know more check out our other BLOGS. There is lots of useful stuff that we have put together over the years!
You can call Pat Lazzaro who is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. His number is 0407 129 260 and he is happy to answer any questions you may have.