25 Shocking Facts About Snakes That You Probably Didn’t Know

Posted by , Updated on May 22, 2024

It’s not unusual to find that fear of snakes is among the most prevalent phobias. The presence of deadly venom in certain snake species seems to heighten this fear, which appears deeply rooted in our survival instincts. However, solely viewing snakes as dangerous, slithering creatures can be somewhat misleading. Snakes are fascinating beings with remarkable traits. Did you know, for instance, that some snakes can glide through the air? Or that there’s a species of snake that repels threats by emitting gas? For a deeper understanding of the intriguing world of snakes, check out today’s article featuring 25 Shocking Facts about Snakes You May Not Have Known.



Snakes live on every continent except Antarctica and on most land masses. Exceptions include some large islands, such as Ireland, Iceland, Greenland, Hawaii, and New Zealand, as well as some small islands of the Atlantic and central Pacific Oceans.

SnakeSource: wikipedia.org, image: https://commons.wikimedia.org (public domain)

Snakes range in size greatly - from the tiny, 10 cm (4 in) long thread snake to the giant reticulated python that can reach up to 7 m (23 ft) in length.

pythonSource: wikipedia.org

There are approximately 3,400 snake species in the world, out of which only about 600 are venomous. Out of those 600 venomous snakes, only 200 pose a serious threat to humans.

snakeSource: livescience.com, image: commons.wikimedia.org (public domain)

Snakes have one of the highest occurrences of polycephaly – a rare condition of having more than one head. There have been many cases of two-headed snakes. The heads might fight each other for food.

polycephalySource: wikipedia.org

Snakes are believed to have evolved from four-legged reptilian ancestors, between 112 and 94 million years ago. Some snakes, such as pythons and boas, still have traces of back legs.

PYTHONSource: factretriever.com

Snakes can live in almost any environment, ranging from jungles and deserts to lakes and mountains. Snakes have been actually found as high as 4,900 m (16,000 ft) in the Himalayas.

SnakeSource: wikipedia.org, image: https://pixabay.com (public domain)

The muscles that cause a rattlesnake´s rattle to shake are some of the fastest known, firing 50 times per second on average, sustained for up to 3 hours.

rattlesnakeSource: wikipedia.org, image: https://pixabay.com (public domain)

The bite of the black mamba, one of the world´s most venomous snakes, can cause collapse in humans within just 45 minutes. Before antivenom was widely available, the mortality rate from this snake´s bite was nearly 100%.

black mambaSource: wikipedia.org

Many snakes have highly mobile jaws that enable them to swallow prey much larger than their heads.

snakeSource: wikipedia.org

There is an island in Brazil, known as the Snake Island, that arguably has the highest occurrence of snakes in the world. It is estimated that there is one snake on every 1 sq m (11 sq ft).

SnakeSource: wikipedia.org

Native to tropical rainforests of South America, the green anaconda is considered the heaviest and largest snake in the world. It can reportedly exceed 227 kg (500 lb) in weight and reach almost 9 m (30 ft) in length.

green anacondaSource: wikipedia.org

Also known as the western taipan, the small-scaled snake, or the fierce snake, the inland taipan is the most venomous snake in the world. It is estimated that one bite from this Australian snake possesses enough lethality to kill at least 100 full grown men.

inland taipanSource: wikipedia.org

Pit vipers, pythons, and some boas have infrared-sensitive receptors in deep grooves on the snout, which allows them to "see" the radiated heat of warm-blooded prey.

Pit viperSource: wikipedia.org

Venomous snakes kill about 90,000 people around the world each year. Yet, they are far from being the deadliest animals – mosquitoes, for example, cause over a million human deaths annually.

snakeSource: http://www.telegraph.co.uk, image: https://www.pexels.com (public domain)

There is a genus commonly known as the flying (or gliding) snakes. Native to Southeast Asia, these snakes are capable of gliding over distances as great as 100 m (330 ft).

gliding snakeSource: wikipedia.org

A snake’s fangs usually last only about 6–10 weeks. When a fang wears out, a new one grows in its place.

snake’s fangsSource: factretriever.com

To accommodate their narrow bodies, snakes' paired organs (such as kidneys) appear one in front of the other instead of side by side. Most snakes also have only one functional lung.

snakeSource: wikipedia.org

When startled, frightened, or threatened, the Sonoran coral snake (also known as the Arizona coral snake) will hide its head under its body and raise and tightly curl its tail. While in this posture, it will then fart noisily.

Sonoran coral snakeSource: wikipedia.org

The decapitated head of a dead snake can still bite even several hours after death. In fact, such bites often contain large amounts of venom.

snake headSource: kickassfacts.com

Historically, snakebites were seen as a means of execution in some cultures. In medieval Europe, a form of capital punishment was to throw people into snake pits, leaving them to die from multiple venomous bites.

snakeSource: wikipedia.org, image: https://commons.wikimedia.org (public domain)

Snakes do not have eyelids. Instead, they have so called brille, a layer of transparent, immovable disc-shaped skin or scale covering the eyes for protection.

snake close-upSource: wikipedia.org, image: https://pixabay.com (public domain)

Some snakes can survive without food for up to two years by reducing their energy expenditure. One scientific study even suggests that snakes can digest their own hearts when starved for too long.

snakeSource: http://www.abc.net.au, image: https://pixabay.com (public domain)

Most species of snakes lay eggs, and some species are ovoviviparous (i.e. they retain the eggs within their bodies until they are ready to hatch), but it was recently found out, that several species (such as the boa constrictor and the green anaconda) are fully viviparous (giving live births).

snake eggSource: wikipedia.org

To keep from choking on large prey, a snake will push the end of its trachea, or windpipe, out of its mouth, similar to the way a snorkel works.

snake eating frogSource: factretriever.com

All snakes are strictly carnivorous. Depending on their size, however, their prey differs considerably. The smallest snakes feed on insects, snails, mice etc., while the largest snakes can kill and eat anything from an antelope and a kangaroo to a pig and even an alligator.

snakeSource: wikipedia.org, image: https://pixabay.com (public domain)

If you enjoyed this list, check out our list on 25 Of The World’s Most Venomous Snakes.