Sea snake facts: 12 Facts about Sea Snakes
12 Facts about Sea Snakes
Have you seen a snake in the ocean? Ever wondered how these snakes differed from the ones found on land? These amazing animals have been entertaining scuba divers throughout the Indo-Pacific Ocean for years, long before sea snakes became the subject of one of our most popular viral Facebook posts. Let’s learn a little about these often-feared but truly fascinating creatures with some sea snake facts.
Here are 12 sea snake facts to answer all your questions about these curious reptiles.
1. There are 69 species of sea snakes.
While divers usually only see a handful of sea snake species during their time underwater, there are actually 69 identified species. To keep things simple, scientists separate these species into two categories: true sea snakes and sea kraits. True sea snakes spend almost all their time at sea, while sea kraits split their time between land and sea.
2. It’s all about the tail.
While it’s impractical to analyze the DNA of every snake-like creature you come across, an easy way to identify sea snakes (from their land-based cousins) is by their paddle-like tails. Their flat tails help sea snakes propel themselves gracefully through the water, but these appendages do make them slightly clumsier on land.
Pro Tip: Many people confuse sea snakes with eels. The most reliable way to differentiate between the two is to look for the presence of a dorsal fin. Eels have a ridge or fin that runs the length of their bodies, while sea snakes do not.
3. There are no sea snakes in the Atlantic Ocean.
Sea snakes live in the tropical and subtropical waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. They are not found in the Atlantic Ocean or the Caribbean Sea. Sea snakes are also not found in areas of high salinity, such as the Red Sea.
4. Sea snakes have been around for millions of years.
The first sea snakes began to evolve about six to eight million years ago in Southeast Asia’s Coral Triangle. However, most species only evolved one to three million years ago.
5. They are the only reptiles to give birth in the ocean.
Most true sea snakes are ovoviviparous, meaning females give live birth from eggs stored in the snake’s body. This is because these snakes rarely visit land, and their eggs won’t incubate underwater. Therefore, the females keep the eggs and give birth to nearly fully formed snakes while swimming in the ocean. However, while this is true for the majority of sea snakes, not all sea snakes actually give birth in the ocean to live young. One genus of sea snake, which includes the commonly observed yellow-lipped sea krait, is actually oviparous and comes onto land to lay eggs.
6. Sea snakes can hold their breath for a really long time.
Unlike fish, sea snakes need to breathe air. Every species must return to the surface periodically to survive. While most sea snakes surface every 30 minutes to breathe, some true sea snakes can stay underwater for up to eight hours. That’s because these snakes can actually absorb up to 33% of the oxygen they need through their skin. They can also get rid of 90% of their carbon dioxide in the same manner.
7. Sea snakes can die of thirst.
The well-known, turmoil-ridden phrase, ”Water, water, everywhere and not a drop to drink,” doesn’t just apply to humans. It also applies to sea snakes, as these reptilian seafarers still need to drink fresh water to survive. Of course, spending all day at sea is not conducive to consuming fresh water. Some snake species head to land to find water, while others wait for rain to deposit fresh water on the surface of the ocean which they can then drink while swimming.
8. They have special glands to remove salt water.
Although sea snakes don’t drink salt water, they still consume a lot of salt when hunting and consuming prey. To prevent excess salt intake, the snakes have evolved special sublingual glands. These glands sit under the snakes’ tongues and push out salt from the bloodstream into the mouth, meaning the snake can simply flick its tongue and expel the unwelcome salt.
9. They can dive deeper than scuba divers.
In fact, sea snakes can dive to depths of up to 800 feet (250 meters) in search of prey. Most sea snakes, however, prefer to stay in the shallows, relatively close to shore.
10. Sea snakes need not worry about breathing in water.
Most sea snakes have evolved valve-like flaps they can move over their nostrils when underwater. This prevents them from breathing in any salty water. (If only scuba divers could evolve in the same way!)
11. Sea snakes are highly venomous.
You may be wondering, “Are sea snakes venomous?” The answer is, yes, sea snakes are highly venomous. In fact, many sea snake species have more venom than the average cobra or rattlesnake.
However, bites are extremely rare. Sea snakes are surprisingly docile and usually only bite when threatened or compromised. Fishermen sustain most of the world’s recorded sea snake bites. These mostly occur when they need to remove sea snakes from their nets or accidentally step on them in the water.
12. Some sea snakes are close to extinction.
While most sea snakes are not endangered, some species are present on the IUCN Red List. The Laticauda crockeri is listed as vulnerable, and the Aipysurus fuscus is endangered. Of most concern, however, are the Aipysurus foliosquama (Leaf-scaled sea snake) and the Aipysurus apraefrontalis (Short-nosed sea snake), both of which are critically endangered.
Climate change, bycatch and low reproductive rates are the main causes of sea snake population decline. You can help by getting involved with awareness and fundraising campaigns that support global change. Consider signing up to become a PADI Torchbearer and join our movement of ocean lovers making a difference to marine life and oceans worldwide.
Aren’t sea snakes fascinating? If you’re interested in observing sea snakes during a scuba diving trip, you’ll need to travel to the Indian or Pacific Oceans. The Philippines, Indonesia and Australia are great destinations for diving with sea snakes. Just remember to treat these venomous animals with respect. As with all marine life, keep your hands off, don’t touch and maintain good buoyancy.
If you are not yet a PADI Diver, learn about getting scuba certified, or book your next vacation to dive with sea snakes.
Sea Snakes Facts and Information
- Common Name
- sea snakes
- Hydrophiidae (“water lovers”)
- Genus Species
- Approximately 52 species
- Sea snakes can be identified by their flattened and oar-like tail. This adaptation allows sea snakes to propel themselves through the water more effectively. Other aquatic adaptations include salt glands and nostrils located at the top of their snouts to breathe more efficiently.
- They vary in length, with the smallest adults being 50 cm (20 in.) long, to the largest, which may exceed 2 m (6.6 ft.).
- No data
- Sea snakes feed mainly on fishes and fish eggs.
- Sea snakes can be oviparous (egg birth) or ovoviviparous (egg live birth), depending on the species. In ovoviviparous reproduction, the internally fertilized eggs of the female are retained in her body. The embryos soon shed their membrane and develop in the mother’s uterus
Clutch Size: Sea snakes usually have 3-4 young at a time.
- Sexual Maturity
- No data
- Life Span
- No data
- Sea snakes are widely distributed throughout the Indian and Pacific oceans, especially around Australia and New Guinea. Two species, Laticauda colubrina and Pelamis laturus, inhabit the coasts of the Americas.
- Found in shallow or coastal water habitats. Some species may venture on land, although most sea snakes are helpless if washed ashore.
- Global: No data
- IUCN: One species, Crocker’s sea snake, Laticauda crockeri, is listed as vulnerable.
CITES: Not listed
USFWS: Not listed
- Sea snakes are front-fanged and highly venomous.
- A fold in the gums of a sea snake hides the fangs, and the fangs quickly emerge when biting. Sea snake fangs are fragile and may break off and remain in the wounds of their victims. To counter the problem of having weak fangs, sea snakes have potent venom that can easily paralyze, kill, and begin the digestive process of the fish they target.
Ecology and Conservation
Generally, sea snakes are not aggressive animals – attacks on humans are extremely rare. Bites occur chiefly to fishermen who try to remove sea snakes from their nets. Also, sea snakes will defend themselves if seized or harassed.
Sea snakes are regarded as a delicacy in the Orient. Sea snakes are attracted by light, which is often the method used by humans to collect them.
Bauchot, Roland (ed.). Snakes a Natural History. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., 1994.
Coborn, John. The Atlas of Snakes of the World. New Jersey: T.F.H. Publications, inc. 1991.
Cogger, H.G. and R. G. Zweifel. The Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians, 2nd ed. San Diego. Academic Press. 1998.
Ernst, Carl H., and Zug, George R. Snakes in Question. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996.
Mattison, Chris. Snakes of the World. New York: Facts on File Publications, Inc., 1986.
Mehrtens, John M. Living Snakes of the World. New York. Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. 1987.
How sea snakes, surrounded by salt water, quench their thirst
Most yellow-bellied sea snakes spend their entire lives at sea. They rarely end up on land and are vulnerable there, since their paddle-shaped tails and keeled undersides make crawling difficult. Armed with potent venom, they drift in a vast territory that encompasses much of the world’s oceans, riding the currents and hunting fish near the sea surface.
Like other reptiles, these creatures need to drink water to survive. How does an animal surrounded by saltwater quench its thirst?
It used to be thought that these serpents drank from their salty surroundings. “Previous textbook dogma was that sea snakes drank seawater and excreted the excess salts using their sublingual salt glands,” explains Harvey Lillywhite, a biologist at the University of Florida.
Recent work has proven that false—and a new study suggests that yellow-bellied sea snakes (Hydrophis platurus) rehydrate at sea by drinking rainwater that collects on the ocean surface.
Water, water everywhere…
Work by Lillywhite and colleagues has shown that various sea snake species don’t drink pure saltwater—even when they’re dehydrated. And while sea snakes do have glands that secrete salt, they are proportionately small and secrete the mineral slowly, making them unable to give the animals all the freshwater they need.
A new study, published this month in the journal PLOS ONE, shows that the snakes are finding freshwater. In May 2017, Lillywhite and colleagues were in Costa Rica to study the snakes, during which time the six-month dry season suddenly ended with a deluge of rain. The researchers captured 99 yellow-bellied sea snakes over the course of the trip, before and after the rain’s arrival.
Yellow-bellied sea snakes rarely come ashore. This mother was washed up on the beach and then gave birth to the baby. Somehow, they find fresh water out in the ocean.
Photograph by Adrian Hepworth, Alamy
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They brought the snakes into the lab and offered them freshwater, finding that 80 percent of those brought in before the rains drank—but over the next five days of rainy weather, that percentage continually dropped among newly captured snakes. Eventually, only about 10 percent of snakes brought in took the offer to rehydrate, a dramatic drop in only a few days.
“If a snake drinks, it is thirsty,” says Lillywhite. “If a snake is thirsty, it is dehydrated. If it is dehydrated when taken from the ocean—during the dry season—this means it is not drinking seawater as textbooks once stated.”
And not a drop to drink?
Since fewer sea snakes were thirsty as the dry season transitioned to wet, the snakes must have been quenching their thirst. As rain falls, the uppermost part of the water’s surface is diluted, creating a temporary freshwater “lens” that doesn’t immediately mix with saltwater. If the salinity falls enough, the sea snakes can drink from this surface layer and rehydrate after months without water.
The results help solidify earlier observations in the laboratory showing that the sea snakes were reliant on freshwater, despite their saltwater habitat. But by uncovering just how the reptiles exploit temporary weather conditions to access life-sustaining water, the researchers have identified where their coveted freshwater source comes from in the wild.
“I found this study very interesting,” says Vinay Udyawer, a marine ecologist at the Australian Institute of Marine Science not involved in this study. “It provides a fascinating insight into a rarely observed aspect of sea snake biology.”
For Udyawer, the results speak to the exceptional importance of freshwater to the lives of sea snakes as a group, even with a life spent in saltwater.
This reliance on freshwater “often limits their distributions, with sea snake populations often very patchy and close to large sources of freshwater like river mouths, estuaries or springs,” says Udyawer.
An animal completely at the whim of open ocean currents, like the yellow-bellied sea snake, says Udyawer, must have some way to hydrate far from any of these land-based water sources. The findings not only reveal how yellow-bellied sea snakes can survive long periods at sea, but also suggest a way that other marine vertebrates could be quenching their thirst.
But dependence on transient weather events like at-sea rainstorms could be even more risky in the face of ongoing global climate change, which is predicted to come with longer and more intense droughts. The animals could die of thirst if cut off from life-giving rainfall, Lillywhite says.
A pivotal next step would be to directly observe sea snakes drinking from freshwater lenses in the ocean, Lillywhite says—an event which would, of course, be extremely difficult to capture.
Kanishka Ukuwela, an evolutionary biologist at Rajarata University in Sri Lanka also not involved in this study, says the paper has raised more fascinating questions.
“If sea snakes are so dependent on freshwater,” asks Ukuwela, “then do they actively aggregate at freshwater lenses briefly after rains? Do they follow rain? And if so how do they do it? Such questions can only be answered by more innovative studies like these.”
Sea snake Facts for Kids
A Sea snake, or “coral reef snake”, is a venomous elapid snakes. They live in marine environments for most or all of their lives. At present, 17 genera are described as sea snakes, with 62 species.
They evolved from snakes that lived on the land. Some sea snakes still have some of the behaviour and traits of their ancestors, such as Laticauda, which can move a little on land. Most sea snakes are unable to move on the ground at all, but they are well adapted to living in the water.
Sea snakes are found in warm coastal waters from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific. They live in the tropical and warm regions, but not in the Atlantic Ocean, or the North American coast above the Gulf of California.
Most sea snakes grow to sizes between 1.2m and 1.4m, some can reach 2m or more. Hydrophis cyanocinctus reach 2.5m to 3m. They reach a weight of about 0.8 -1.3 kg, at a size of 1.8m. In most cases, females are larger than males.
All sea snakes have paddle-like tails and many have laterally compressed bodies – they look somewhat like eels. However, unlike fish, they do not have gills and must come to the surface regularly to breathe. Nevertheless, they are among the most completely aquatic of all air-breathing vertebrates. Among this group are species with some of the most potent venoms of all snakes. Some have gentle dispositions and bite only when provoked, while others are much more aggressive.
- All snakes are good swimmers, but only real sea snakes live their whole lives in the ocean. Not only do they live there, they eat there and even have their young right inside the water. Most cannot live at all on land. If they get forced onto land by a storm or powerful currents, they are unable to move. Sea snakes have no scutes (special scales on snakes’ bellies that help them grip and slither across the ground), so if a sea snake ends up on a beach, it is unable to slither back out to sea. Instead, sea snakes have a paddle-shaped tail. With its tail, the snake can swim well.
Sea snakes have special nostrils that can close when they go underwater and open when they come up to breathe, like the blowhole of a whale (scientists call these valved nostrils). The nostrils are found high up on the head so that the entire snake can stay under the water when they come up to breathe. In its search for food, a sea snake may remain under water for a long time. To do this, sea snakes have evolved a single lung that almost is as long as the whole body.
Most sea snakes are able to breathe through their skin. This is unusual for reptiles, because their skin is normally thick and scaly. Experiments with the black-and-yellow sea snake, Pelamis platurus (a pelagic species), have shown that this species can get about 20% of its oxygen in this manner, which allows for longer dives.
Like other land animals that have adapted to life in a marine environment, sea snakes swallow considerably more salt than their relatives living on land. They do this through their diet and when they inadvertently swallow sea water. Kidney function in birds and reptiles is too weak to remove enough salt. In birds, such as penguins, salt is removed through nasal glands. The marine iguanas of the Galapagos Islands use the same mechanism. Sea turtles have lacrimal glands that allow them to produce very salty tears. But in sea snakes, glands under and around the tongue let them expel salt with their tongue action.
Most sea snakes prey on fish, especially eels. The latter stiffens and dies within seconds when bitten. One species prefers molluscs and crustaceans, such as prawns. Some reef dwelling species have small heads and thin necks, making it possible for them to get small eels from the soft bottom where they hide.
Effect of venom on humans
Pelamis platurus has a venom more potent than any other terrestrial snake species in Costa Rica. The snake is very common in the waters of the western coast of Costa Rica. Despite this, few human deaths have been reported. Nevertheless, all sea snakes should be handled with great caution.
When bites occur, only a small amount of venom is injected. The symptoms caused by the venom may seem slight at first. There is usually little or no swelling involved, and it is rare for any nearby lymph nodes to be affected. The most important symptoms are a rapid breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue and paralysis. Early symptoms include headache, a thick-feeling tongue, thirst, sweating, and vomiting. Symptoms that can occur after 30 minutes to several hours after the bite include generalized aching, stiffness, and tenderness of muscles all over the body. This is followed later on by symptoms typical of other elapid attacks: a progressive paralysis of muscles. Paralysis of muscles involved in swallowing and respiration can be fatal. After three to eight hours, myoglobin may start to show up in the blood plasma. This is a result of muscle breakdown. It can cause the urine to turn a dark reddish, brown, or black in color, and eventually lead to kidney failure. After six to twelve hours, severe hyperkalemia can lead to cardiac arrest. The hyperkalemia is also the result of muscle breakdown.
- The attacked person may experience nausea, vomiting, thick tongue, difficulty in speaking and swallowing, blurred vision, weakness, numbness, or stiffness.
- More severe symptoms may include paralysis, drooping eyelids, dark brown urine, lockjaw, difficulty breathing, and blue lips and tongue. Sometimes, death may occur.
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Check Out These Ssseriously Cool Sea Snake Facts
Sea Snake Interesting Facts
What type of animal is a sea snake?
Although usually confused with the Eels due to the appearance, sea snake, as the name suggests, belongs to the reptile cobra family, snake animal.
What class of animal does a sea snake belong to?
Sea snakes are reptile class and are considered to be highly venomous.
How many sea snakes are there in the world?
Even though sea snakes were sighted in great numbers during 1932, in recent times, these coral reef snakes are considered to be an endangered snake species.
Where does a sea snake live?
Unlike terrestrial reptiles or snakes, the sea snakes live underwater and are usually found in the warm waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Neither of them would ever be found in the Atlantic or the Caribbean.
What is a sea snake’s habitat?
Although sea snakes or coral reef snake habitat is focused in shallow or coastal water, some of the sea snake species do get onto the land surface, like the Laticauda, commonly known as yellow-lipped sea kraits, or blue-banded krait. In most cases, the sea snakes are helpless when found on the shores after typhoons or any such scenarios.
Who do sea snakes live with?
Usually, sea snakes live a solitary life, unlike a few species that hunt fish and eggs in groups.
How long does a sea snake live?
Coral reef snakes or sea snake lifespan is estimated to be around 10 years.
How do they reproduce?
All the true sea snakes like the olive sea snake, yellow-bellied sea snake, or Pelamis Platurus, and the other species are ovoviviparous and usually give live birth underwater. The females keep the eggs inside themselves and give birth to fully developed snakes. Only one species Laticauda Colubrina, such as the sea kraits or the blue-banded sea krait snake, choose to lay their eggs on the land surface in the snake nest. Their gestation period lasts from three to five months depending on the different species. As the coral reef snakes reside in the tropical waters, they are able to lay their eggs or give birth any time during the year.
What is their conservation status?
Though most of the sea snake species are not listed on the CITES list, few of the true sea snakes like the Aipysurus, Laticauda Crokeri, A Fuscus, A Foliosquama are considered to be endangered species of the sea snakes. Whereas, the IUCN has red-listed the Apraefrontails as critically endangered true sea snakes species.
Sea Snake Fun Facts
What do sea snakes look like?
All the true sea snakes show a paddle-like tail that makes it easier for them to move around underwater like the other marine life fish and creatures. Due to the flat tail, they are also confused with the eels. They have their nostrils location is dorsal on the body for easy breathing.
How cute are they?
Even though sea snakes are highly venomous, they are considered pretty creatures. Sea snake Hydrophis has a natural history of reptiles with no desire to bite unless provoked.
How do they communicate?
Unlike the terrestrial snakes, the auditory and sensory study related to sea snakes is not that advanced, yet it is believed that the coral reef snakes are able to detect vibrations in the waters to spot their prey.
How big is a sea snake?
Sea snakes have an average size ranging between 47.24-118.11 in. The minimum size recorded is 20 in long, and they can even grow to be as big as the size of marine eels or even longer than the eels.
How fast can a sea snake swim?
Even though the sea snake’s body is adapted to marine life, they are not usually in any rush in the water. Still, a few records related to sea snakes suggest that they can swim around two to two and a half miles per hour in water.
How much does a sea snake weigh?
The average weight of sea snakes in the Pacific Ocean, or any warm water bodies is recorded to be between 0.8-1.3kg.
What are their male and female names of the species?
Based on gender, there are no distinct names for the male and female sea snakes. Every type of their species has a male and female called by the same name. For example, a yellow-bellied sea snake or an olive sea snake is the same name used for both males and females.
What would you call a baby sea snake?
Just like the snakes on the land, baby sea snakes can either be called neonate or a snakelet of the marine world.
What do they eat?
Most of the sea snakes eat other fish in the water as well as fish eggs. The major diet of the sea snakes involves eels, most of the female sea snakes are also found eating the eels that are big as their own size.
Are they poisonous?
Considered the most poisonous snake, all true sea snakes are known to keep their venom in check, not looking to bite with their venomous fangs without any reason or unless they think of it to be absolutely necessary.
Would they make a good pet?
Due to their strong venom quality, sea snakes are not considered to be good as pets. Although they have a water-friendly nature, keeping an ocean body of sea snakes in aquariums is not advised either.
Did you know…
Even though sea snakes are considered to be dangerous due to their strong venom, they don’t intend to bite a human as they are not aggressive in nature, unless they are provoked to do otherwise.
If at all you encounter a sea snake bite, as their venom is rare the envenomation is hardly visible until a few hours, along with minimum swelling. The early symptoms can include headache, nausea, vomit, which gradually leads to paralysis. Even though the effect is slow, sea snake venom is considered to be more lethal than the other snakes and can even kill more than 1800 people in 30 minutes.
Even though the sea snakes are surrounded by ocean water most of their lives, there is a high chance of them dying due to thirst and dehydration as they only drink fresh water.
How long can a sea snake hold its breath?
Sea snake nostrils help them specifically when under the water as these nostrils close when the sea snakes enter the water. Most of the true sea snakes can stay for as long as eight hours underwater as their skin does the job of absorbing around 33% of oxygen and releases 90% of carbon dioxide. Unlike them, a sea krait might have to reach the surface of the water every 30 minutes to breathe fresh air.
How many species of sea snakes are there?
To date, scientists and researchers have been able to find and analyze around 60 species of sea snakes. These species are divided into two categories namely; the true sea snakes or marine snakes and sea kraits.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our sea snake coloring pages.
Sea Snake – Description, Habitat, Image, Diet, and Interesting Facts
Sea snakes are an incredibly specialized group of reptiles, which are perfectly adapted to ocean life, and few of them ever come ashore. There are a number of interesting adaptations and traits unique to these snakes. Read on to learn about the sea snake.
Description of the Sea Snake
With 69 recognized species, sea snakes come in a diverse range of colors and sizes. Most species are between 4 and 5 feet long, and many have distinct ring patterns. Like most snakes, they are long and thin, but these particular snakes have a unique flattened tail to aid in swimming.
Interesting Facts About the Sea Snake
Sea snakes are one of the few reptiles to live in a fully marine habitat. They are specially adapted to survive in saltwater, and have a number of traits to help them live a seagoing life. Overall, this type of snake is a diverse and interesting group of animals.
- A Little Family All Their Own – Sea snakes are so unique in their lifestyle and traits that they are considered an entirely separate subfamily from other snakes, called “Hydrophiinae.” This snake’s closest relatives are cobras.
- Eel-Like, But Not a Fish – Sea snakes have lungs, and thus have to breathe air. They must swim to the ocean’s surface to breathe. Research has suggested that the snakes can absorb oxygen through their skin, but likely not enough for survival without air.
- Ovoviviparous – The vast majority of sea snakes are ovoviviparous, meaning they give birth to fully formed offspring rather than eggs. The young develop in eggs within the mother’s body until they are fully formed and hatch, then the mother gives birth to live young. The genus Laticauda is the only group of these snakes that lays eggs.
- Sea Snake Venom – All sea snakes are venomous. They are not the most venomous snake species in the world, but their venom is more potent than king cobra venom. Its venom is made up of chemicals similar to the cobras’, but in higher concentrations.
Habitat of the Sea Snake
Sea snakes generally remain in warm, tropical seas. Some species prefer habitats with coral reef systems, though most live and feed in shallow waters, relatively close to landmasses or islands. These snakes also seem to prefer protected coves or estuaries.
Distribution of the Sea Snake
The sea snake can be found mostly in the Indian and Western Pacific Oceans. A single species, the yellow-bellied sea snake, has a very wide range, and can be found anywhere from the east coast of Africa, to the west coast of the United States.
Diet of the Sea Snake
Most sea snake species feed primarily on fish, though eels and crustaceans can also fall prey to this animal. Some species of sea snakes have very specialized diets, including fish eggs or specific species of fish.
Sea Snake and Human Interaction
Despite relatively potent venom, sea snakes are generally mild-tempered, and only 3% of these bites are fatal. Of the 69 species, only a few are considered to be aggressive.
Sea snakes are not domesticated in any way.
Does the Sea Snake Make a Good Pet
As a venomous animal, the sea snake would not make a good pet. While some species have been kept in aquariums, there is a level of danger in keeping any venomous animal.
Sea Snake Care
Sea snake care depends heavily on the species. Snakes that feed on more generalized prey would be easier to care for, while animals with specialized diets may be nearly impossible to provide food for.
Behavior of the Sea Snake
These snakes are generally solitary, but some species have been known to congregate in large numbers. One sighting reported millions of Stokes’ sea snakes congregating off the coast of Malaysia.
Reproduction of the Sea Snake
It is believed that large accumulations of sea snakes may congregate for breeding purposes. These groupings have, however, only been seen in some species. After breeding, the vast majority of these water snakes give birth to fully formed young, with only five species laying eggs on land.
Galapagos Yellow Bellied Sea Snake Facts with Quasar Expeditions
Name: Yellow Bellied Sea Snake
Scientific Name: Pelamis Platurus
Length: up to 80 cm (31.5 in)
Number of Species: 28
Endemic Species: 19
Twenty eight species of reptiles have been recorded in Galapagos in recent times. Nineteen of these species are endemic to the archipelago, 11 of which are confined to single islands, and three species have been introduced.
Similar in structure to the terrestrial snakes, but the only species recorded in Galapagos, the Yellow-bellied (or Pelagic) Sea Snake, is entirely marine. It is characterized by its black and yellow pattern and flattened tail, an adaptation for swimming.
This species is entirely marine. Black above and yellow below, with a flattened yellow tail with large black spots. It is migrant, but regularly recorded at sea in Galapagos, particularly during El Niño years. Yellow bellied sea snakes are highly venomous.
The yellow-bellied sea snake is a diurnal sea snake and primarily aquatic, living its entire life cycle at sea. It eats small surface-dwelling fish and eels and as an ambush predator, it sits and waits quietly at the surface for fish to swim by. To move in the water, the snake undulates its flattened tail and body from side to side. It is able to efficiently swim forwards and backwards at sea, but it cannot move well when it is washed on shore, which is where it is mainly seen during our Galapagos cruises. This snake can spend up to 3 hours underwater without surfacing and it is estimated that the snake spends over 80% of its life underwater, surfacing mostly when the waters are calm. It is not known to be aggressive, usually reluctant to strike, and often strikes without injecting venom. To remove barnacles, algae or other growths in its skin, the snake ties a knot in its body and runs it from one end of the body to the other, cleaning the skin in the process. This technique is also used when shedding skin. This snake probably breeds only in areas of water as warm as 68 degrees F (20 C) or warmer. Young are born in the ocean, or mangrove lagoons or rocky tidal areas near shore.
90,000 Facts about sea snakes. Sea Snake Habitat – Planet Earth
Let’s now take a look at some of the most effective sea snake facts, including diet, habitat, reproduction and behavior of sea snakes. The sea snake belongs to the Elapidae family and is also called Hydrophiinae. This is a group of highly venomous snakes that spend most of their lives in the water. These types of snakes cannot move on land, despite the fact that they descended from earthly ancestors.These reptiles are perfectly adapted to lead their entire life under water. Sea snakes are known to inhabit the Pacific and Indian Oceans. These snakes have scapular tails, which give them an eel-like appearance. These animals lack gills, which means they must float frequently to the surface to breathe. Of all vertebrates, sea snakes are the most aquatic animals. There are certain species in this group that show a gentle disposition and only bite when disturbed, while others are more aggressive.
Interesting Sea Snake Facts
- Basically the length of sea snakes Measure approximately 120-150 cm (3.9-4.9 feet).
- The largest sea serpent ever to measure 3 meters (9.8 feet) is called the Hydrophis spiralis.
- The eyes of the sea snake are comparatively smaller.
- Upper jaw has 18 teeth.
- Because of their bladed tail, sea snakes are considered agile swimmers.
- Sea snakes breathe through their skin, which is rare in reptiles as their skin is thick and scaly.It is known that sea snakes meet almost 25% of their oxygen needs in this way.
- Sea snakes are not aggressive species, but there are differences within species.
- Sea snakes that are considered highly aggressive, including Aipysurus laevis, Enhydrina schistosa and Astrotia stokesii.
- According to Dietmars, when sea kites are selected for walking on land, they tend to walk awkwardly and appear to be uncomfortable in their movements.
- Unlike rattlesnakes, sea snakes are active during the day and night.However, if provoked, these snakes dive deep into the water to a depth of about 90 meters (300 feet). They stay submerged for about a few hours, depending entirely on activity and temperature.
Where do sea snakes live | Sea Snake Facts
Sea snakes are found throughout the temperate waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and some species are found in Oceania. They have a relatively wider habitat. These snakes are found on the east coast of Africa, the west coast of the United States, including Peru, the Gulf of California, and the Galapagos Islands.Some of these species are native to Cape Town, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, San Clemente (America), the cold waters of Namibia, the Atlantic Ocean, the eastern South Atlantic, western South Africa, the Caribbean, the Panama Canal, and the Red Sea. Sea snakes can be found in shallow waters adjacent to land or at river estuaries. These reptiles are known to swim up to 160 km (99 mi) from the sea. Some of these species, such as Pelamis platurus, live in floating debris and drifting lines, while others prefer to settle in brackish water and mangrove swamps.
What sea snakes eat
Most sea snakes are known to hunt fish and eels. Some of the most common prey for sea snakes are shrimp, shellfish and crustaceans. Some sea snakes prefer fish eggs, which is not common with venomous snakes.
These species are ovoviviparous and the young are born alive in the water. These young people will spend their entire lives in the water.
Sea Snake Facts | Video
Sea snakes – invisible killers
Contents of the article
Sea snakes belong to the snake family, which includes 17 genera and 56 species and belong to the relatives of asps.
These poisonous animals spend their whole life in water and in their way of life differ significantly from terrestrial relatives. Since snakes are cold-blooded animals, they live in the warm waters of the Pacific and Indian Ocean near the coast.
Sea snakes (Hydrophiinae).
Almost all representatives of the genera of this animal cannot move on the ground. Perhaps only flat-tails are able to move on land, among which are ringed flat-tails. Sea snakes breathe atmospheric air, for which they need to emerge from time to time to replenish their supply.
Appearance of a sea snake
Most adults reach a size of 1. 2-1.5 meters. The largest member of this family is the yellow sea snake. The length of this animal is 2.7-3 meters. Weight ranges from 0.7 kg to 1.5 kg.
Females are usually larger than males. The tail of the sea snake is flattened laterally, which helps it to swim, and the head is narrow. This head structure allows the snake to crawl into the narrowest crevices in the reefs in search of prey.The structure of light sea snakes is interesting. The right lung is located along the entire body of the snake to the tail. The respiratory organ that has received such a development is a kind of bubble and serves as a repository of air.
These reptiles are found in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
The skin of sea snakes is rather thick and scaly. Scientists have found that these reptiles have the ability to breathe through their skin.
A scientific experiment was carried out, as a result of which it was proved that 25% of an animal’s oxygen demand is met through the skin. Hence, it is clear that this species of marine animals is able to stay under water for a long time, about 2 hours. Sea snakes can descend to a depth of 90-100 meters, and according to some estimates, up to 180 meters.
In general, there are many protective mechanisms in the structure of the body of a sea snake. Sea snakes spend their entire life in salt water and sometimes need to remove excess salt from the body. Special glands located under the tongue are designed to perform this function.
The sea snake can breathe through the skin.
Snakes also have protective valves in the nasal openings that close when immersed in water. The body of snakes living near reefs is covered with hard scales. This helps them to protect themselves from mechanical damage. Sea snakes prefer to live in the coastal area and do not swim far from the coast. The maximum distance a snake can swim away is 160 km.
Behavior and nutrition of the sea snake
This species of marine reptiles is active day and night. Snakes love to bask in the sun in the morning and evening. At this time, they can be observed on the surface of the water. It happens that sea snakes gather together in large numbers and can form a kind of line, 3-5 km wide, up to 100 km long.
A similar giant cluster of sea snakes was observed off the coast of Malaysia in 1932. Until now, no reason has been found that forces animals to do this. However, experts have suggested that this behavior is associated with reproduction.Large numbers of sea snakes are killed by typhoons and violent storms. After similar cataclysms, waves throw thousands of dead reptile bodies ashore.
The sea snake can stay under water for about 2 hours.
Representatives of this species feed on fish and cephalopods. Having a plastic body and a well-stretching mouth, a snake can swallow prey twice its size.
In addition to the genus of flat-tails, all other sea snakes are ovoviviparous.The offspring of snakes are born in water and the length of the young sometimes reaches half the length of the mother’s body. There are five species of snakes in this family, which are oviparous. In order to make a clutch, they have to get out on land.
Sea snake venom
Sea snake venom is one of the most powerful in the world. There is an explanation for this. Cold-blooded inhabitants of the deep sea are much more resistant to poison than warm-blooded representatives of the fauna, whose habitat is land. Based on this, a more potent poison is required.The poisonous teeth of the sea snake are located on the upper jaw. The snake’s teeth are quite strong, it easily bites through the scales of fish. Of course, the thickness of human skin will not save you from being bitten by a reptile.
The venom of the sea snake is deadly to humans.
The olive sea snake is considered the most venomous among sea snakes. In the genus of this snake there is a species called Dubois, which has the most dangerous poison.
Interestingly, the sea snake bite is painless. A person in salty sea water may well not feel it. The bite site practically does not swell. Among the first symptoms are thirst, headache, vomiting, excessive sweating, and a swollen tongue. These first symptoms appear within 30 minutes of the bite. They continue to appear for several hours. Then, muscle paralysis sets in.
Death after being bitten by a sea snake comes from the fact that it paralyzes the muscles responsible for swallowing and breathing. A sign of a bite is brown or black urine. It can take from 6 to 12 hours from the moment of the attack of a sea snake of a person to the onset of a fatal outcome.At the moment, there is an effective antidote. Sea snakes themselves rarely attack humans. The object of their hunt is shellfish and fish.
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Sea snakes are a group of snakes adapted to life in salt and brackish water.Life in the aquatic environment served them as an evolutionary adaptation to survival. Sea snakes belong to the cobra family. These snakes can be found in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. There are about 60 species of sea snakes that vary in size, color, diet type, and habitat. Sea snakes are part of a variety of ecosystems: coral reefs, estuaries, mangrove swamps, sandy bottoms and the open ocean. The main threats to the survival of sea snakes are climate change (which affects their habitat), by-catch (they are accidentally trapped in fishing nets), habitat loss and habitat destruction. Several species of these reptiles are on the endangered species list.
Fun Facts About Sea Snakes:
The size of the sea snake depends on the species. They are usually 3.9 to 4.9 feet in length. The largest sea snake can reach 9.8 feet in length.
The color and patterns on the body of sea snakes depend on the species. Alternating rings of various colors (black, red, gray, white, or blue) are commonly found in sea snakes. Some species are uniformly colored.
The body of sea snakes is adapted to aquatic life.They look like eels with a flattened tail, making swimming easier. Sea snakes are clumsy on solid ground.
The nostrils of sea snakes are equipped with movable valves that prevent water from entering the nose when they are underwater.
Sea snakes have glands that secrete excess salt from their bodies.
Sea Serpents can submerge 300 feet. Most species prefer to dive in shallow waters. They can spend up to one hour underwater without returning to the surface to breathe. On average, they dive for 30 minutes.
Even though they live in water, sea snakes breathe with their lungs. In addition to their lungs, these snakes can also breathe through their skin. This feature is not typical for terrestrial snakes.
Sea snakes are active both day and night.
Sea snakes are carnivores (meat eaters). Their diet mainly consists of various types of fish, crustaceans, molluscs and the eggs of various sea creatures.
Like their terrestrial cousins, sea snakes have a toxin-producing gland in their bodies.The venom of sea snakes is very strong. They use it to kill their prey and protect themselves in case of danger. These creatures rarely attack humans.
In addition to poison, some sea snakes produce a special caustic enzyme that causes prey to be digested from the moment they are bitten.
Sea snakes are venomous, but they are not aggressive creatures. Sea snake attacks are usually the result of their self-defense.
The type of mating and breeding of sea snakes depends on their species. Only a few species lay their eggs on solid ground. Most of the species of these creatures give birth to live snakes.
Females give birth to offspring once every two years. Pregnancy in some females can last as long as 9 months. The number of pups ranges from a pair to over 25 individuals.
Sea snakes can live more than 10 years in the wild.
90,000 Facts about snakes. Interesting facts about snakes 10 interesting facts about snakes
Mysterious, dangerous, bewitching, hypnotizing, elegant – the epithets are dedicated to the most unusual class of reptiles – snakes.The incredible interesting facts about snakes
reveal their wonderful world and nature.
- “Potted” snake loves to live in the land of flower pots
. If one day, looking into a flower pot brought from distant India, Sri Lanka, you see a small, slender creature with dry, shiny skin and up to 12 cm long, know that this is a cute cute snake – a Brahmin blind snake or “pot” snake.
- The tiger snake competes in the poisonousness of the famous cobra
, living in Australia.A black body with yellow rings and a black belly makes her look like a tiger. Locals say that the snake is “cowardly”, does not attack itself, lies motionless on the ground, so sometimes they take it for a long stick … instant movement, and teeth dig into the victim.
- The emerald or dog-headed boa lives in the forests of South America on trees in a characteristic pose, catching its tail on a branch, where it lies peacefully
… But as soon as the prey appears, the body of the boa is thrown forward with a throw, picking up the prey.
- Lives on an egg diet in the southern, equatorial part of Africa, a small, up to one meter long, egg snake
. Small teeth are not able to bite through live prey. But bird eggs, covered by the oral cavity with jaws connected by ligaments, are slowly but surely pushed into the pharynx and esophagus. The elegant movement of special ribs – the eggshell is sawed, as it were, the contents flow through the esophagus, the shell is spit out.
- Black mamba – a snake that is spoken about only in a whisper, so as not to invite to visit
.So say the locals of the savannahs, the woodlands of Africa. Olive, brown, gray, but with a black mouth, from which it got its name. The most aggressive (attacks instantly, bites two or three times in a row), the fastest (capable of moving at a speed of 20 km per hour), the most poisonous (injects 350 mg, and 15 mg of poison is a lethal dose).
- Samoyed snakes occur in nature
. It is noticed that some snakes begin to swallow their tail, and then die.Snakes trust the sense of smell – if the smell of the victim is on the tail, the tail immediately falls into the mouth.
- The flying paradise snake that lives in the jungle of South and Southeast Asia is capable of gliding through the air
. Pushing off with its tail and wriggling, the snake flies up to 100 meters.
- The horned snake lurks in the quicksand of the famous desert
. A cute creature with a pair of horns, cute cat eyes, a poisonous tooth and an unusual manner of movement.
- Common belt snake – thin, fragile, with a large head and beautiful eyes
. He spends most of his life in trees, loves snails and slugs.
- Green whip – an inhabitant of the tropical forests of Southeast Asia
. Large oval eyes with horizontal pupils on an elongated muzzle are a sign of binocular vision, the ability to determine the exact distance to the victim. The long ribbon-like body perfectly disguises the snake in the emerald thickets of plants, making it look like a liana.
- A miniature collar snake, in times of danger, twists its tail and exposes its bright belly, signaling seriousness of intentions
… But only snails and salamanders are afraid of this representative of snails. This baby lives in the United States, southern Canada, and is found in Mexico.
- Schlegel’s chain-tailed botrops – ciliated viper
. Above the eyes are cilia-like protective scales. Inhabits trees, palms of Costa Ricca, Mexico, Colombia, Peru.During the day, the snake rests on the branches, catching only one tail. Poisonous.
- The radiant snake got its name from the iridescent tide
. The back is dark brown, the abdomen is cream. Leads a burrowing lifestyle, lives in leaf litter. He prefers not to meet with a person, but if the person insists, he throws out a special, foul-smelling liquid from the cloaca. Maybe bite.
There are more than 2000 species of various snakes in the world – large, small, poisonous, non-poisonous, harmless, etc.And these reptiles certainly deserve attention. In this article, we’ll take a look at 15 interesting and unusual facts about snakes.
We all know how a cobra dances to the tune of a fakir (from films or broadcasts, or maybe seen it live), but in fact these snakes are absolutely deaf and do not hear the sounds of a pipe, but they dance because they follow the movements of the pipe (the fakir always in motion) and prepare for an attack, in addition, they react to the vibrations of the leg with which the caster taps.But in any case, even if the cobra attacks, then nothing terrible will happen, since the poison is always removed in advance.
… Python lays the most eggs from snakes. Some species are capable of laying around 100 eggs at a time.
The king cobra can feed on other snakes as well. she is not even embarrassed by the fact that they can be poisonous.
The oldest long-lived snake is a boa constrictor named Popeye. This snake died in 1977 at the age of 40.
Some types of snakes (for example, spitting cobras, etc.) can simulate death when they realize that the advantage is far from their side. They lie on their backs, open their mouths and even emit an unpleasant odor. Predators, as a rule, do not touch them.
The snake constantly sticks out its tongue in order to recognize information about the environment and objects. Her tongue is so sensitive that it picks up “information” out of thin air.
Some snakes (for example, vipers, pythons, etc.) have a notch on their head, which is a temperature sensor. This “device” helps them to hunt, especially in the dark.
Snakes have very poor eyesight and hearing, so they mostly react only to moving objects.
Some snakes can hibernate for up to 3 years without food or drink.
It has long been known that snake venom can be used as a medicine.On the basis of snake venom (cobra) ointment “Cobratoxan” (cobratox) is made, which is used for radiculitis, inflammation of other joint diseases. In addition, thanks to cobras, they also make special vodka, which has a powerful healing effect (especially for men).
Almost all snakes are oviparous, but there are some species that are born like mammals (i.e. are associated with the mother by vessels). Common vipers, many sea snakes and American snakes are considered viviparous snakes.
The heaviest snakes are the South American anacondas. Their weight can reach up to 250 kg.
The smallest snakes can be the size of our common earthworm, and the largest (pythons) reach up to 10 meters.
A rattle in rattlesnakes is not some balls inside the tail, but old wool, skin, i.e. the result of her shedding.
Due to the flexibility of snakes, one might think that they have no bones at all, but this is not true.The fact is that snakes have about 150 pairs of ribs, but they are not like humans (motionless), but have a movable structure, as if on hinges, so from the outside you might think that snakes are completely boneless.
Snakes are found almost everywhere except Antarctica, New Zealand, Iceland, Ireland and some small islands in the Atlantic Ocean.
Snakes are descended from lizards. Among living lizards, their closest relatives are iguana and fusiform.
The largest snakes are reticulated pythons and anacondas – they can be more than 7 meters in length. The smallest snakes on the planet are Leptotyphlops carlae, which are no more than 10 centimeters long.
Taipan McCoy is considered the most poisonous snake in the world – the poison received from one individual will be enough to kill 100 people. Its venom is approximately 180 times stronger than that of a cobra.
The eyelids of snakes are transparent and remain permanently closed.
Snakes can hibernate under unfavorable conditions.
As of 2017, 3631 species of snakes are known to science.
Snakes do not have a bladder – urine from the ureters flows directly into the cloaca.
Snakes have a unique skull structure that allows them to swallow prey that are much larger than themselves.
The largest venomous snake is the king cobra.It is believed that if a person is at close range with this snake, then he should catch up with it at eye level and, without making any sudden movements, look at it. After a few minutes, the cobra will slip away, considering the person a harmless object.
Absolutely all snakes known to science are predators.
Snakes have nostrils, but with them they cannot smell. They pick up odors with a forked tongue, which is used to collect particles from the environment and then transmit them to the mouth for analysis.
Snakes lack the outer and middle ears and the eardrums. But they are very sensitive to vibrations, so they are good at picking up sound waves coming through the ground.
Snake venom is produced by special glands located behind the eyes. It consists mainly of proteins, amino acids, fatty acids and enzymes.
The Brahmin Blind Snake (Indotyphlops braminus) is the only snake species composed exclusively of females.Eggs in Brahmins go blind develop without fertilization (parthenogenesis).
Although the growth rate of snakes slows as they mature, they continue to grow until death.
According to the Guinness Book of Records, the fastest snake in the world is the black mamba, which can reach speeds of up to 16 kilometers per hour.
Most snake species are harmless to humans and maintain balance in the ecosystem by controlling populations of rats, mice and birds.
The longest venomous canines are in the Gabonese viper: their length can exceed 40 mm.
In nature, it is not so rare: such individuals appear due to the incomplete separation of identical twins at an early stage of their development. Such snakes rarely live long in the wild, since two heads are most often aggressive towards each other and in the event of an attack by a predator, it is difficult for the snake to decide which direction to crawl.
21. Female king cobras build egg nests, which is not the case with other snakes. In addition, they always guard the clutch, becoming very aggressive and attacking anyone who approaches the nest. Shortly before hatching, the female leaves the nest and goes in search of food so as not to eat her own offspring.
The largest snake ever found on our planet was the titanoboa. They lived about 60 million years ago; could reach 15 meters in length and weigh over a ton.
Depending on the species, snakes live from 4 to 30 years.
Fish are less sensitive to snake venom than warm-blooded animals, so sea snake venom is more toxic than land snakes. Despite this, their poison is practically not dangerous to humans, since sea snakes inject a very small dose of poison and rarely bite for self-defense.
Many paired snake organs, such as the kidneys or reproductive organs, are staggered within the body, with one almost always in front of the other.
The World Health Organization estimates that about 100,000 people die from snakebites every year, with about 50,000 cases in India alone.
Most snakes reproduce by laying eggs, but some species are ovoviviparous and viviparous, most often associated with cold climates.
The digestive enzymes of snakes dissolve everything except the victim’s hair, feathers, and claws.
Of the approximately 725 species of venomous snakes in the world, only 250 of them are capable of killing a person with one bite.
To create an antidote for snakebite, pharmacists collect a mixture of different types of poisons and inject them into the horse’s body in gradually increasing doses until the horse becomes immune to the poison. Blood samples are then collected from the immunized horse. The resulting serum is separated, purified and lyophilized. This method of making antivenom is used in the USA, India, South Africa and Australia.
People from different parts of the world have created many myths and legends about such mysterious and mysterious creatures as snakes. But if for some peoples the snake is an object of worship and deification, symbolizing strength, wisdom, renewal, then others fear these hissing and crawling animals. This article will tell you some unusual and interesting facts about snakes.
Giants of the serpentine world
Today there are more than 3000 on our planet, and about 1000 of them are poisonous.The sizes of these animals can be very diverse. So, in Indonesia in the west, the largest python to date was caught, the length of which is almost 15 meters.
Following the boa constrictor is an anaconda with a length of 5 to 6 meters, although there are specimens of more than 9 meters. For centuries, South Americans have scared children with them and told legends about snakes covered in staggered brown spots and living in lakes and quiet river harbors. Previously, the anaconda was also called a water boa, which in fact does not contradict the truth: this snake really belongs to the subfamily of boas, and it really loves water.
The following interesting facts about snakes concern venomous species, the longest of which is the body length of which can reach 6 meters.
But on the territory of the former USSR, the gyurza from the viper family is considered the largest representative of reptiles. It can grow up to two meters long and weighing up to 3 kg.
Snake or worm?
The smallest snake – the narrow-throated two-strand (Leptotyphlops bilineata) – lives on such Caribbean islands as Martinique, Santa Lucia, Barbados, and rarely exceeds 10 cm in length.Another miniature representative of reptiles – the Brahmin blind (Typhlops braminus), or potted snake, belongs to the family of blind snakes. Interesting facts about snakes of this family are that they are actually blind, as their eyes are practically undeveloped and covered with skin. In addition, blind people prefer to live in ordinary flower pots, which are displayed outside or in the garden in warm weather. The snake lives in South Asia, on the islands of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and together with flower pots, it also moved to Hawaii, Madagascar and Mexico.
Unusual facts about snake skeletons
Modern scientists know almost everything about snakes, but they never cease to be amazed at the uniqueness of the structure of their skeleton. Unlike all other animals, reptiles have no limbs. Only the largest specimens of boa constrictors can be found rudimentary remains of the pelvic bones and hind limbs. The body is attached directly to the skull, while there is no difference, except for size, between the vertebrae of all five sections. There can be from 200 to 400 vertebrae in total.The number of ribs in snakes can be up to 200, and they are connected to the vertebrae of the skeleton by a system of ligaments and elastic muscles.
Features of anatomy
No less interesting facts about snakes become clear when we begin to study the structure of their internal organs. So, the kidneys of these reptiles are not located on the right and left, but, as it were, one after the other – in front and behind. But the snake heart can move quite far from its original position, which contributes to the normal passage of swallowed food through the intestines.
Another, rather unexpected, truth about snakes: they are deaf in our understanding of the word, since their eardrum and middle ear are completely atrophied. Touching the ground with their belly, these reptiles catch a variety of vibrations and vibrations, including sound ones, with their body.
Instead of moving snakes, eyelids fused together and transparent, like hard lenses. It is they who protect the snake’s eyes from various damage or hunting.
When attacking, the snake’s mouth can open 180 0.these reptiles are equipped with two rows, and the lower one – with one row of teeth. Throughout life, all of them, including the canines, change. The African Gabonese viper is famous for the longest teeth: they can grow up to 3 cm.
How do they hunt?
Of course, it will not be possible to tell everything about snakes within the framework of one article, but we will dwell on the methods of hunting them separately.
Hunting methods depend on the species to which the reptile belongs. Poisonous individuals prefer to wait for their prey in ambush and, inflicting an accurate and quick blow, kill the victim.If the snake missed, then it will not pursue the proposed lunch for long – 1-3 meters, after which it will again freeze motionless in anticipation. But vipers, for all their venomousness, do not always sit in ambush: these snakes are able to overcome considerable distances in search of prey. Sandy Efa and Pallas shitomordnik can make their way into the holes of rodents and eat their prey right there, although they also use hunting from an ambush.
Those without poison simply hold their captured victims and swallow them or use the strangulation technique.Snakes swallow prey alive, but pythons and boas kill the prey by wrapping around its body and gradually increasing the force of compression of the rings until it dies from suffocation. According to the hunting time, snakes are subdivided into:
- daytime; 90,010 9,0009 crepuscular;
These reptiles live mainly in the tropical warm waters of the western Pacific Ocean. There are 27 different species of sea snakes between Borneo and Singapore.There are about 21 species in Australian coastal waters, and in the Great Barrier Reef there are 14 species of these marine reptiles. In total, there are about 70 species of marine reptiles.
The most interesting thing about the snakes that live in the sea is that, with the exception of the scoopers, they are all poisonous and can cause serious harm to human health. Turtle-like sea snakes are not dangerous to humans because they feed on fish eggs. Under the influence of such a diet, their teeth were transformed into a single plate, thanks to which they become like turtles.They cannot produce poison, and they also have no teeth to inject it.
1. Snakes are reptiles that cause fear in most people, as many of them are poisonous or dangerous.
2. Snake venom is a complex substance that has a different composition in different types of reptiles. Some have enzymes that are dangerous for the nerves, others for the heart, and still others that break down DNA.
3. All snakes are predators. Most of them cannot chew and only use their teeth to grab and tear food apart.
4. Snakes have two pairs of teeth on the upper jaw and one on the lower. Snake teeth grow throughout their life. During life they all change.
5. Many snakes have rather poor eyesight. But on the other hand, they are able to distinguish warm objects, like a thermal imager, and respond well to movement. But it is worth noting that tree snakes have good eyesight.
6. The largest living snake is considered to be the reticulated python. Representatives of these species have a mass of under a centner and a length of about 10 meters.
7. Giant snakes include two more types of pythons: light brindle and dark brindle.
8. The light brindle python reaches a length of six meters, but does not pose a danger to any animal larger than a cat.
9. Snakes have a huge number of ribs – up to 250 pairs. Some snake species have about 300 pairs of ribs. The upper limb belt is absent, but the remains of the pelvis are preserved in some species, although they are not functional.
10.Pythons even have tiny rudimentary leg remains.
11. The green anaconda is not far behind the reticulated python. It also has a mass of under a hundredweight and a length of almost 10 meters.
12. A female dark tiger python named Baby, who grew up in one of the US zoos, is the heaviest living one. It weighs 183 kilograms, although the average of this species weighs 75 kilograms.
13. The internal organs of snakes are not located compactly, as in humans, but in a row one after another.
14. When the prey is swallowed, the heart of snakes can be significantly displaced.
15. All snakes have eyelids that are always closed. They are transparencies that do not interfere with your vision.
16. Gyurza is the largest of all snakes living in the territory of the former USSR. The maximum length of this species is 2 meters.
17. Scientists have very different opinions about hearing reptiles. It is generally accepted that snakes are practically deaf, but some studies refute this theory.
18. The “sensor” of temperature indicators, which is located on their head, helps snakes to navigate well in the dark. Such a sensor looks like a small fossa, and it can respond to changes of only 0.002 degrees.
19. Frighteningly waving their tongue, snakes “sniff” the air around them. The resulting information is transmitted to the sky, where it is quickly identified.
20. The African Gabonese viper has the longest teeth.Sometimes their length reaches three centimeters.
21. The most dangerous of the reptiles is the black mamba, because it is she who is considered the most poisonous snake. There are many superstitions associated with this snake. Inhabitants of the regions in which it lives, savannas, woodlands of Africa, even its name is never pronounced aloud, fearing that an insidious snake will hear and visit their yard.
22. But the color of the mamba is not black. It is olive, brown, gray, but with a black mouth, which is why it got its name.
23. Black mamba is the most aggressive (attacks instantly, bites two or three times in a row), the fastest (capable of moving at a speed of 20 km per hour), the most poisonous (injects 350 mg, and 15 mg of poison is a lethal dose).
24. But the terrible mamba has an even more dangerous competitor – the taipan. He lives in Australia, has an extremely aggressive behavior and an impressive length of several meters. Taipan poison paralyzes the heart muscle, and it acts instantly. Having met him, you just need to run away without looking back.
25. A spitting cobra can hit its victim with both a bite and a spit of poison at a distance of three meters. At the same time, she aims directly at the eyes – at the mucous membrane.
26. Ribbon krait lives in India, where it is called the shy snake. Krites are not aggressive unless their offspring are touched. But the venom of one snake is enough to send a dozen people to the next world.
27. The king cobra is one of the five largest snakes.
28. The amount of poison contained in the glands of one king cobra will be enough to kill twenty-three adults. There may simply not be time to administer an antidote. A king cobra bite is fatal even to an elephant. Usually the cobra kills because of the danger threatening the cubs. Yes, one of the most dangerous reptiles on the planet is a caring mother.
29. The only species of snakes that feed on their relatives is the king cobra.
30. The tiger snake, which lives in Australia, competes with the famous cobra for its venomousness.A black body with yellow rings and a black belly makes her look like a tiger. Locals say that the snake is “cowardly”, does not attack itself, lies motionless on the ground, so sometimes they take it for a long stick … instant movement, and teeth dig into the victim.
31. The most famous snake in China is the Chinese maize snake. Calm, shy animal. A favorite of terrariumists, as he feels good in captivity, content with simple food and delighting the owner with a beautiful color and the addition of offspring.
32. The left lung is larger in all snakes, and in many species the right one is completely absent.
33. Snakes molt throughout life.
34. Non-venomous snakes also have natural born killers. Until recently, pythons were considered harmless to humans, but in recent years, several cases of python attacks on humans have already been recorded in Southeast Asia. Scientists believe that a python, which does not know how to chew and swallows food whole, is too tough for a person, as they say (the pelvic bones of the victim cannot fit into the mouth of a predator).But people of small build should not trust pythons.
35. Some snakes are incapable of feeling full and may die from overeating.
36. The green whip is an inhabitant of the tropical forests of southeast Asia. Large oval eyes with horizontal pupils on an elongated muzzle are a sign of binocular vision, the ability to determine the exact distance to the victim. The long ribbon-like body perfectly disguises the snake in the emerald thickets of plants, making it look like a liana.
37. Samoyed snakes are found in nature. It is noticed that some snakes begin to swallow their tail, and then die. Snakes trust the sense of smell – if the smell of the victim is on the tail, the tail immediately falls into the mouth.
38. The sliding part of the snake belly recognizes even subtle vibrations on the ground and in the air. This ability helps reptiles sense the approach of predators, humans, and their prey.
39.Australia is home to 21 of the 25 most venomous snake species.
40. And in neighboring New Zealand there are no snakes at all. The exception is two types of aquatic reptiles, which are harmless in water.
Barbadoian Narrow Snake
41. The smallest snake was found in Barbados. This is a narrow-necked snake. It does not even grow to 10 centimeters.
42. The rattlesnake tail rattle consists of a large number of layers. So, the next molt adds another segment to them.As a result, there can be about ten layers.
Green Poisonous Snake
43. The emerald or dog-headed boa lives in the forests of South America in the trees in a characteristic pose, catching its tail on a branch, where it lies peacefully. But as soon as the prey appears, the body of the boa is thrown forward with a throw, picking up the prey.
44. There are flying kites in Asia. Having spread their ribs, they can “fly” from one branch of a tree to another, overcoming distances of even 100 meters.
45. The oldest snake in the world was Popeye. He lived until 1977, his life expectancy was 40 years.
King snake – albino
46. Albinism among snakes is a rare phenomenon that does not in any way affect the lifestyle or habits of animals.
47. The longest snake is considered to be a snake with an interesting nickname Fuzzy, which lives in the Ohio Zoo. At the age of 18, the Fuzzy’s body length is 7, 31 meters. And the weight is 136 kilograms.This snake is listed in the Guinness Book of Records.
48. The “potted” snake is very fond of living in the land of flower pots. In a flower pot brought from distant India or Sri Lanka, you can see a small, slender creature with dry, shiny skin and up to 12 centimeters long. This cute cute snake is a Brahmin blind snake or “potted” snake.
49. Philippine Cobra is a professional sniper. She kills by spitting out poison. Even a distance of 3 meters is not safe. But, like other cobras, the Filipino snake rarely attacks first.The traveler should carefully look under his feet so as not to step on it.
50. The African snake, who loves to feast on eggs, looks very much like a viper. Although he is not poisonous, this color allows him to live peacefully in the world of wild nature. With a head size of 1 centimeter, it calmly swallows 5 times more birds’ eggs.
photos from the Internet
90,000 The most poisonous snake that a python can and other interesting facts about snakes
The poison of a king cobra is considered the most deadly.There are cases when people died from the bites of this snake within an hour. An equally terrible killer snake lives in India – it is a krait, from the bites of which 77% of people who have been attacked by it die. Of the more than 2 thousand species of snakes, about 600 are poisonous, but the bite of only a quarter of them is fatal to humans. The only venomous snake found in Europe is the viper.
A poisonous snake cannot be made non-venomous by removing, for example, its stinging teeth – new ones grow instead.
The most poisonous viper is found in India and has a length of up to 1.5 m. A medium-sized viper, biting a victim, can inject up to half a teaspoon of poison into its body.
Boas strangle their prey, killing it with their body (hence the name).
The Indian python can lay up to 107 eggs at a time.
There are fifty types of sea snakes, and almost all of them are poisonous, while most of them can emit a substance on the victim that is much more toxic than the venom of “land” snakes.The most common and venomous variety of sea snakes is Engydrina schistosa, which lives in the waters between the Persian Gulf, Vietnam and Northern Australia. On average, it releases 8.5 mg of poison (with a lethal dose for humans – 1.5-3.5 mg).
All sea snakes are venomous. However, a drop from the sting of a sea serpent is enough to kill five people. Fishermen die every year, bitten by snakes caught in their nets.
Most sea snakes feed on fish, but some coastal reptiles eat bird eggs.
The main food of the largest of the poisonous snakes – the king cobra – is … other snakes, including its relatives. Destroying a large number of venomous snakes, the king cobra has earned a good reputation in many places in its range.
Mongooses are known for killing snakes. Each time the snake attacks, the mongoose dodges its blow. It moves so fast that it soon tires the snake. Then the mongoose grabs her and kills her.
Snakes determine the taste and even smell of prey … with their tongue.Some rattlesnakes use their tongue to warn, swinging them threateningly in front of the enemy.
Snakes have no hearing, but they are very sensitive to a wide variety of vibrations, by which they recognize their enemies and victims.
Some Java snakes can be considered a natural sperm bank (semen produced by the male sex glands). The fact is that sperm can be stored in their body for up to 7 years, which, of course, has a positive effect on the evolution of these reptiles.
The first snakes lived about 80 million years ago. They were descendants of extinct lizards. The longest prehistoric snake is a huge python, eleven meters (36 feet) long. The descendants of this snake are still alive.
The first place in size among snakes is occupied by royal pythons, whose length reaches 10 m. Anacondas, living in the tropics of South America, grow up to 7 meters in length. However, even the largest royal python is almost fifty kg. lighter than the “average fatness” anaconda, whose weight can reach 160 kg.
The largest of the venomous snakes is the king cobra, reaching a length of 4.5 m.
Some animals behave strangely before the earthquake. In 1975, hibernating snakes in China unexpectedly left their burrows. Thousands of people were saved thanks to the warnings of the serpents.
90,000 The whole truth about snake sex: it’s not what we thought
- Sandrine Serstymont
- BBC Earth
Photo by Sven Zacek / naturepl.com
Scientists are used to thinking that male snakes play a dominant role in sexual intercourse, and females are mostly passive, but how wrong they were!
When Jesus Rivas took out the female anaconda from the mating ball of snakes, a surprise awaited him.
The bloated body of the anaconda indicated that she was extremely full, and Rivas believed that she was about to regurgitate – snakes often regurgitate some of the food if they ate too much or were stressed.
And what did Rivas see? Instead of the usual prey – a rat or other rodent – the tail of another snake appeared from the anaconda’s mouth.
“It was also an anaconda,” says Rivas, a herpetologist from Las Vegas. “And judging by its sex, it was a male.”
A female anaconda has swallowed one of her recent sexual partners in a sexual behavior known as “sexual cannibalism.”
And this striking incident only added evidence to a growing body of evidence that we misunderstood how snakes have sexual intercourse.
Photo author, Franco Banfi / naturepl.com
Green (giant) anaconda (Eunectes murinus)
In anacondas, only females engage in sexual cannibalism.
Scientists used to think that female snakes have a subordinate position during courtship and mating, but now it is clear that their role is very significant and even dominant.
Rivas suggests that the misconception was born out of old research done by male scientists.Sexual solidarity played a role, so to speak.
Female snakes are physically large and powerful, so it really comes as no surprise that they can beat and even eat a male. In many animals, the picture is the opposite – it is the males that are larger, but in the case of snakes, this is not the case.
Females of anacondas are on average 4.7 times larger than males. Among land vertebrates, this is the most dramatic difference between the sexes.
The reason that males are often larger than females is that it helps them to win the fight for the female and control territory, driving off rivals.And this is exactly the case in lizards, birds and mammals.
But the behavior of male snakes destroys this stereotype. They do not care about the control over the territory, and during courtship they simply push the rival and deftly operate with their tail to get to the female genitals. So for a male snake it is not at all important to be big.
Why do females need large forms? Bigger size improves fertility, and the offspring are larger, which increases the chances of survival. Males, apparently, understand this, preferring to care for larger females.
But how do they make their choice? Snakes do not have very good eyesight, and it is not yet clear how a male can understand from afar how attractive a female is.
Photo author, Tony Phelps / naturepl.com
The male of the common viper (Vipera berus) protects the female from other males
Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that courtship is actually initiated not by the male, but by the female. When a female snake comes out of hibernation and sheds its skin, it releases pheromones and thus attracts males to itself.”The males just go crazy,” says Rivas.
These pheromones seem to carry information about what the female looks like. Michael Lemaster of the University of Western Oregon has obtained evidence that the smell given off by a female garter snake can convey information about her physical size.
And although males pay attention to smaller females, as soon as a large snake is nearby, they switch to it.
Another aspect of the sex life of snakes that we have been confused about is how they mate.
Photo author, Franco Banfi / naturepl.com
Green (giant) anaconda (Eunectes murinus)
It was believed that the norm for snakes is polygyny, when one male has sexual relations with several females. But even here everything turned out to be not so simple.
An absolutely common thing is when several males take care of one female. On the island of Borneo, for example, it was possible to photograph a female decorated paradise snake, which entered into a relationship with four males.
The males followed the female relentlessly as a group of her admirers for 30 minutes.As the researchers believe, during this sex journey, they vied for the best position for sexual intercourse.
Photo by Tim Laman / naturepl.com
Decorated Paradise Snake (Chrysopelea paradisi)
Usually, the female giant anaconda lies quietly in the mud or shallow water, while the males try to spot it. Sometimes a dozen promising partners come to meet, wrapping around a female – such “orgies” last up to a month.
Rivas recalls observing a male anaconda who stubbornly pursued a large female, ignoring any other opportunities to mate, and eventually had sexual intercourse with her.”It felt like real love,” says Rivas.
In garter snakes (garden snakes) courtship can take on even more extreme forms. In the Canadian province of Manitoba, in the area between Lakes Winnipeg and Manitoba, you can witness how one female is chased by up to a hundred males, of which a large marriage ball is formed.
Often in the crevices you can see several such balls with thousands of snakes. True, this does not happen with garter snakes everywhere.You won’t see this in the continental United States, Rivas said. It’s not very clear why, but it seems that the environment and geography strongly influence the behavior of snakes.
According to Rivas, the problem with these mating cups is that it is very difficult for scientists to determine which of the males eventually produced offspring. One thing is clear – since there are many males in such “orgies”, the female must make a choice.
Photo by Francois Savigny / naturepl.com
Mating ball of anacondas (Eunectes murinus)
“In the end, it is the female who decides when to open her cloaca for the male,” says Lemaster, who studies garter snakes …Females use the squeeze of the genitals to control the duration of intercourse and may interrupt it if they feel that the male is not doing his job.
It is not yet completely clear what exactly the females are guided by when choosing this or that male. Scientists suggest that either the strongest or the most persistent is chosen to ensure healthier offspring.
However, another element may play a role in the process of “female” choice. According to Rivas, females use their sense of touch to distinguish between males.Video filming of the processes within the mating group can help to understand how this happens.
In any case, it is clear that females do not necessarily choose only one “groom”. They often have sexual intercourse with several males. And contrary to previous ideas, males usually stay with one female.
Photo by Huw Cordey / naturepl.com
Garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis parietalis) during mating season
“It takes a lot of effort for a male to find and win a female,” explains Rivas.In his opinion, polyandry (when each of the females has sexual intercourse with several males) is inherited in snakes.
How did it come about? One hypothesis is that having sex with multiple males helps the female build up a supply of seminal fluid that she can use to feed.
But Rivas still believes that sexual intercourse with many males, the competition of different sperm give some kind of guarantee of a healthier offspring.
Females can store sperm in the reproductive tract for months and even years, and it remains competitive even in comparison with fresh sperm.
Photo by Huw Cordey / naturepl.com
Garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis parietalis)
Does all this mean that the role of males in mating snakes is very limited and comes down to a very specific duty?
Females of the garter snake, who have just had intercourse, secrete a special pheromone, which makes it clear to the males: do not waste time, you are no longer interested in me.
However, some males are also very active.For example, males of the same garter snake secrete a substance that blocks the genital tract of the female after intercourse. This so-called copulation plug appears to be a way to prevent a female from having intercourse with other males.
These plugs are not 100 percent effective, they often just fall out. But they may have another function – they can be a store of sperm, which is gradually released into the female’s body, as the cork dissolves.
The fact that, say, a male anaconda tries to stay close to his “beloved” longer, can be explained by the fact that he is trying to remain the last one who had sexual intercourse with her. This increases the chances that it is his sperm that will win the fight for offspring.
However, returning to the beginning of our story, it should be noted that staying too long with a friend is also dangerous – and even deadly: she can simply eat.
Photo by Sven Zacek / naturepl.com
Common snakes (Natrix natrix) – male and female
Of course, female anacondas do not always eat their sex partners, and it is not clear how they decide whether to do it or not. “It would be interesting to know if there is something about a particular male that makes him more vulnerable to such an outcome,” Rivas muses.
Sexual cannibalism helps anaconda females gain additional nutrients, which are very useful when you consider that during pregnancy for seven months they are hungry.
There are still many mysteries for us in the reproductive behavior of snakes. Partly because snakes themselves are mysterious creatures and lead a lifestyle hidden from human eyes.
But from what we know, we can conclude that the mating behavior of snakes is very similar to the spider. In both those and others, the females are larger than the males, and there, and there, the males compete fiercely for the right to impregnate the female, and the females know how to choose with whom to have intercourse and with whom not.
And finally, in both snakes and spiders, the male is at risk of being eaten by his own girlfriend.Immediately after sex.
For more articles like this in English, visit BBC Earth .
GISMETEO: Sea snakes turn black due to mud – Events
Turtle-headed sea snake ( Emydocephalus annulatus ) usually has an attractive coloration of black and white stripes. However, populations near the cities of the Pacific Ocean lost their white streaks, and scientists for decades could not understand the cause.
New research finally reveals the mystery: The pigment in black skin is likely helping urban snakes get rid of industrial pollutants.
© Claire Goiran
Scientists collected shed snakeskin from various habitats and found that all black urban snakes had higher concentrations of trace minerals such as arsenic and zinc than snakes far from cities. Importantly, the team found the same phenomenon in skin samples from another krait striped sea snake ( Laticauda semifasciata ).
Also, scientists have noticed that blackened sea snakes shed their skin more often than their rural counterparts.This confirms the idea that the dark color helps reptiles withstand the stresses of city life.
“Snake populations are declining all over the world due to human activity. It’s good that at least one species has developed a way to resist pollution. But that won’t be enough if we continue to destroy the natural environment, ”says study leader Claire Goyran, a marine biologist at the University of New Caledonia and LabEx Corail .
If the researchers’ conclusions are correct, the turtle-headed sea snake will join the list of animals with “industrial melanism.”The most famous example is the pepper moth ( Biston betularia ) in the UK, which has darkened to remain camouflaged in forests blackened by coal pollution.
But Goiran suspected industrial melanism in snakes thanks to other animals: she read an article by University of Warsaw biologist Marion Chatelain, which said that Parisian pigeons with dark feathers were better at coping with the accumulation of toxins than their light feathered counterparts.
What’s more, the pigment melanin, which makes feathers and skin dark, tends to bind to metal ions, which means that the growing dark feathers can serve as a way of expelling toxins from their bodies.
“I immediately thought that this might be the reason for the black coloration of the sea snakes in the area of Noumea, the capital of New Caledonia, in the French Pacific,” says Goiran. The city has a nickel metallurgical plant and has a population of about 100,000.Because of this, Noumea and the surrounding waters contain both urban and industrial pollutants. Goiran suspects that the snakes absorb toxins through the fish they feed on.
Chatelain called the new study interesting, as it shows for the first time a link between dark coloration and metal concentrations in a reptile. But many questions remain. For example, the paper analyzes the content of metals in the dark and light stripes of krait sea snakes, not tortoise-headed ones. The authors hypothesize that the same trends persist for the latter, but according to Chatelaine, to understand this, skin samples of both colors of the species from urban areas are needed.