ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Types of Snakes

Updated on February 13, 2012

Most snakes are like one another in general appearance, but vary a great deal in size and color markings. They move by a wriggling movement which presses the horny plates of the belly against the earth and so thrusts the animal forward.

Snakes swallow their food whole, and, as they frequently eat animals two or three times as wide as themselves, the snake's lower jaw is capable of being stretched sideways to hold the creature it is swallowing.

Some people think that the long, slender, forked tongue of the snake is a sort of sting; but this is not so. The tongue is some kind of very sensitive sense organ.

Many snakes have teeth, but swallow their food whole. Poisonous snakes have no upper teeth and inject venom by means of a pair of fangs, usually at the front of the mouth in the upper jaw: these fangs are hollow teeth, sharp as needles, and when the snake strikes the pressure of penetrating the skin causes the poison to be squirted out from a little bag at the base of the teeth, running down a groove in each fang. A great many snakes are not poisonous, however, and the first important group of these non-poisonous snakes are the constricting snakes.

The boa and python are non-poisonous; they kill their prey by constriction-that is to say, they wrap one or two coils of their body round the victim, which is usually a small mammal or bird, and squeeze it to death! The largest of the boas is the anaconda, which is equally at home in trees or in the water. Its length often exceeds twenty feet.

Other members of this family are the boa constrictor (which like the anaconda lives in South America) and several kinds of python.

Like the boa, the python spends a lot of its time in trees, and is capable of hanging down from tree branches by its tail only.

A great many other snakes are non-poisonous.

One of the more interesting is the egg-eating snake.

The egg is swallowed whole, but when it reaches the snake's gullet, the snake, by tightening the muscles of its neck and by rocking itself backwards and forwards, saws through the egg-shell by rubbing it against its spine. The egg then breaks, and the empty shell is thrown up in the form of a small pellet.

The British grass-snake is another harmless animal. It is a good swimmer, although it spends a great deal of its time on land, and it feeds on small creatures such as worms and insects.

Perhaps we might include in this group some of the tree snakes, which have poison fangs, but being situated at the back of the mouth they are not dangerous to man. Many of these tree snakes are brightly colored and one of these-the Indian flying snake-although it has no special wings like the flying lizard, is capable of gliding. If a flying snake is frightened whilst in a tree, it will fling itself into the air, holding itself rigid; by drawing in its stomach, it produces a hollow in the under surface of its body which checks its fall and enables it to glide.

Probably the most notable poisonous snake is the cobra, which is to be found throughout southern Asia and Africa. The cobra has a hood at the back of the head which is spread out when the snake is surprised or angered and likely to strike. The cobra's bite is deadly.

The African mamba is related to the cobra, and its bite is just as severe; it does not, however, have the hood which is so characteristic of the cobra.

The coral-snake also has a deadly bite, and although small in size this snake is treated with great respect.

One group of snakes has taken to living in the sea. All sea-snakes are poisonous and they feed chiefly on fish, particularly eels.

The viper and rattlesnake have poison fangs which differ from those of others, in that the fangs can be folded flat against the roof of the mouth.

The African puff-adder is typical of this family and one viper -the common adder- is to be found in Britain. It is the only poisonous British snake, and can easily be distinguished by the zigzag black line which runs down its back, although the general color may vary from grey to brown, red, or almost black.

The rattlesnake lives chiefly in North America, and gets its name from the rattle which it shakes with a series of loose horny plates or rings situated at the tip of its tail. Each time the rattlesnake sheds its skin it adds a new ring to its rattle.

The shedding of the snake's skin (called sloughing) happens fairly regularly with all snakes when the old skin is worn or outgrown. By vigorous rubbing the old skin is rolled back from the head, inside out, and the snake slowly works its way free, emerging in a beautiful new coat.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      7 years ago

      the best tube from all in the Anakonda

    • Eiddwen profile image


      7 years ago from Wales

      Very interesting ; I have no fear of snakes as long as I know they are not poisionous.

      Some great information here.

      Take care



    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)