From starring as Eve’s intruder in the Bible to regular appearances in Harry Potter books and movies, snakes have crawled their way into world mythology and popular culture with stories born of fear and respect.
Snakes have a boastful ability to climb high, go through water, and some species even fly. All this without limbs! By combining this mobility with their worldwide presence and sometimes deadly bites, snakes can quickly become a matter of myths.
There are 2700 known species of snakes, and these are their following characteristics:
Snakes have a thin, linear body without limbs.
Snakes are carnivores (beasts).
They are cold-blooded animals, which means that their internal temperature varies with the ambient temperature.
Due to their long shape, the snake’s organs are distributed linearly, but otherwise they are similar to those of other vertebrates, including humans. The brain and sensory organs are located in the head, and they have almost all the senses as well as people with a few interesting changes:
Hearing – Although snakes are not equipped with outer ears like humans, sound waves from the air hit their skin and are transmitted from muscles to bone. When sound reaches the bone below the skull, it sends vibrations to the inner ear, and the sound is processed in the brain.
View – Snakes do not see colors, but their eyes are equipped with a combination of light receptors. The complexity of the eyes varies among species due to their different lifestyles. For example, snakes that live primarily underground have smaller eyes that only process light and darkness, while snakes that live above the ground and hunt with their eyesight have crystal clear vision and a good perception of depth. Some species, especially boas and pythons, have other visual tools – an organ on their heads with which they can see heat sources in their environment, such as. infrared glasses. It is an effective ability for nocturnal hunters of warm-blooded animals.
Smell – Like humans, snakes breathe air through the nostrils that lead to olfactory processing chambers, but snakes also have a secondary system. When the snake moves its tongue, it collects odorous particles that are transferred to two bags of filled liquid on the roof of the mouth – the vomeronasal organ, which leads to another, less olfactory chamber. The tongue is used only to help in this process, snakes have no sense of taste.
The digestive tract occupies almost the entire length of the body and includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine and anus. All parts are stretchable so that it can digest prey larger than its diameter. When a snake has a full mouth, it must expand its trachea so that it can breathe. Snakes do not have a diaphragm like humans do, so they take air into the lungs by expanding the ribs and push the air out by narrowing the ribs. After each breathing cycle, snakes experience a condition called apnea – the cessation of breathing, which lasts from a few seconds to a few minutes. To process oxygen, all snakes have an elongated right lung, and many have a smaller left lung, while some even have a third along the trachea.
Interesting facts about animals
Here are more interesting facts about snakes:
1. The phenomenon in which a snake hatches with two heads is called axial bifurcation, and occurs due to genetic anomalies during the formation of the individual. Both heads are able to control the common body, and they are also capable of independent thinking. Due to the complex way of eating, these snakes do not have a long life in the wild, because it often happens that one head eats the other.
2. The fastest land snake is the black mamba. It is able to crawl at a speed of 19km / h. It reaches a length of 4.5 meters, and belongs to a rare group of snakes that bite their prey several times in a row. During each bite, they release 20 drops of poison, and only 2 are enough to kill an adult.
3. The largest Chinese restaurant in the world has 5,000 seats, and as many as 300 chefs are in charge of preparing specialties of 200 snakes, which the restaurant orders on a weekly basis.
4. Snakes are 10 cm to more than 9 meters long. Hundreds of tiny vertebrates and ribs cross that distance and connect to each other through an intricate muscle system, creating unsurpassed flexibility.
5. In some restaurants in Vietnam, it is possible to order cobra blood wine. When he receives the order, the waiter takes a live cobra from the terrarium, kills it by cutting off its head on the spot, and adds a few drops of the unfortunate cobra’s blood to the glass in which he previously poured the drink that the locals call rice wine.
6. Traditionally, every year in a small place called Batis Shirala, a festival dedicated to cobras is held in India. The inhabitants of this small place are preparing and looking forward to this festival, so months in advance they start collecting cobras and putting them in earthen jars, where they are fed and kept. During the event, these ominous, yet adored reptiles are sprinkled with rose petals and rice grains. They even worship them in special rituals. At the end of the festival, they release them back into nature.