“I hate snakes.” When Indiana Jones uttered those fateful words at the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark, audiences cheered. We’re totally with you, Indy.
That was also a brilliant set up for a final sequence that had Indy dropping into a pit of snakes. Let’s put that one down as, “Not a chance.”
Still, for all their slithering, slimy snakeyness, snakes are fascinating creatures.
They’ll be even more fascinating when you learn these 30 interesting snake facts!
- Just because you cut off the head of a snake doesn’t mean the snake is done. That chopped-off head can still bite and unleash a huge amount of venom.
- Want to make sure you never see a snake? Move to Ireland, Iceland, New Zealand or one of the poles, North or South. No snakes live in those places.
- Snake charmers have clocked 725 species of venomous snakes. In that group, only 250 are lethal to humans with just one bite. Good to know.
- Big pythons and boa snakes have traces of back legs left over from millions of years of evolution when snakes started out as land lizards. As if we didn’t have enough to worry about.
- It can take a snake up to five days to digest its last meal. With bigger snakes like an anaconda, that digestion period is weeks rather than days, the same amount of time after an Italian Thanksgiving dinner. Trust me.
- The Mongoose is one of those rare animals that is immune to a snake’s venom. Go, Mongoose!
- Record holder for biggest variety of snake goes to the anaconda. It can top out at 595 pounds (270kg) and stretch out to 30 feet (9 meters). How big is that? An anaconda has been known to snack on full-grown jaguars… the cat, not the car.
- The black mamba takes snake biting to a whole new level. It can strike with 12 bites in a row, even though it only takes one bite to kill its prey. Shouldn’t there be a law against that?
- Snakes don’t have ears on the outside. Those internal ears pick up sound waves from its skin, muscles and bones. Still creepy.
- A snake can literally eat so much it explodes. Proof of that was found in the body of a 13-foot python who tried to snack on a 6-foot alligator. The results weren’t pretty.
- A rattlesnake’s rattle is made of the same stuff that makes human hair and fingernails. That would be keratin. Every time a rattler sheds it skin, it grows a new rattling ring. Kind of like bells and angel wings.
- If you were to open the mouth of a snake — please don’t — then you might be able to count off up to 200 teeth. Those aren’t used for chewing but keeping what it just swallowed from crawling back out.
- “Look up in the sky. It’s a bird. It’s a plane.” No, it’s a snake. There are five kinds of flying snakes that can take off and fly up to 330 feet (100 meters) in the air. Mind blown.
- Good news — a snake’s fang only lasts for 10 weeks. Bad news — they grow a new one right away.
- A snake uses its forked tongue to smell. It can even smell in directions, kind of like smelling in stereo.
- The Arafura snake doesn’t eat a lot. As a result, they only lay a single egg once every ten years. I think we can all support that.
- Want to lose weight and eat like a snake? Then you only need to take in 30 meals a year. No snacking on jaguars in between meals.
- You’ll often find snakes lounging in the middle of the road because they’re warming up their bodies. When the temperature drops below 50, a snake gets wonky and can’t move as fast. Poor little snowflake.
- The Mozambique spitting cobra is aptly named because of its ability to spit at distances up to 8 feet (2.5 meters). It tends to aim for the eyes. Not nice.
- A snake can get so caught up in its biting that it can bite itself and die from its venom. And the world’s tiniest violin starts to play.
- Two headed snakes are like snake twins that didn’t “finish.” They don’t last long because they’re constantly fighting over food and end up biting each other. Talk about sibling rivalry.
- On average, sharks kill around four people each year. Snakes kill upwards of 40,000 people each year but who gets more press? Clearly, snakes need better PR.
- Snakes are considered a delicacy in several parts of the world. The Cantonese have been slurping on snake soup for over 2,000 years, even before they invented crackers.
- There is such a thing as “mad snake disease.” When caught, some pythons literally tie themselves up in knots. Others just stare blankly at the sky. Virulent rodents are suspected as the cause.
- The St. Lucia racer snake is close to being wiped out. Scientists think there are 100 or fewer of these snakes left in the world. Will they be missed with so many millions of other snakes? Probably not.
- Only 70% of snakes lay eggs. The rest that live in colder climates deliver live-birth baby snakes.
- The biggest snake fossil was fifty feet long. That 60-million-year-old snake probably weighed as much as 20 people and could eat whole crocodiles.
- As with all things, a snake’s growth rate slows the older it gets. However, a snake never truly stops growing. As long as it lives, it is getting bigger. Check, please.
- Certain African snakes actually hibernate during the summer. They call this aestivation. Must be nice to take a several-month-long nap.
- If a snake just ate and then feels threatened, it will regurgitate its meal. That way it can make a quick getaway. No manners at all.