Snakes

This essay has a total of 1673 words and 10 pages.

snakes



With it’s long slender body the snake’s probably the funniest shaped creature you will
ever encounter. There are many points about this wonderful Reptile that make it a high
asset to the world. It has been said that people are always afraid of what’s different,
afraid of what they don’t know. Well, in less than 10 min, I promise you will know all the
answers to all the questions that you have ever had about snakes. From questions like what
is a Thamnophis sirtalis, to were the butt is located.

First of all, let’s dispel any of the rumors that are around about these guys. Despite
popular belief, the snake does not swallow there young to protect them from harm the
stomach would start to digest them. Snakes do not milk cows (thank goodness for the cow
snakes teeth are sharp). This one came around from fear and adrenaline, but snake cannot
crawl faster than a human can run. The tongue of the snake is not a stinger (though they
do tickle). And, snakes are not slimy,

Now that we have started uncovering the truth about these reptiles we can start at the
top. In the world today there are about 2,500 known species of snakes belonging to more
than 10 families. In the U.S. there are about 127 species, with 38 species found within
Kansas (with 5 venomous ones).

Most people wonder what will happen to them if they do happen to encounter a snake. Will I
get bitten, is it venomous, will I die, is someone going to have to suck the poison out of
there, is it trying to kill me, should I try to kill him? Allot of things are happening at
this point, well more than likely the snake is just trying to defend himself. And he has
all the right to do so. First of all you disrupted the snake, it did not disrupt you. How
would you feel if A 5 to 6 foot thing with two legs and hair growing on it almost stepped
on you and you were a only a half foot off the ground, you would be pretty scared to.

More than likely the snake is a harmless one. If by chance the snake is a venomous or
dangerous snake just simply stop, and walk slowly away from it. Do not threaten it or try
to kill it, just back away. With all this talk about confrontation and how to avoid the
snake, I would be good if I mentioned the size of what to stay on the look out for.

Snakes come in all sizes from super small and sleek to large and cumbersome. Most snakes
on the other hand are an average of two to eight feet. Snake have been recorded to having
reached up to 36.5 feet. And there are certain breeds that are found to only grow to 1 to
1.5 feet. The diversity of snakes is almost comparable to none. The size of A snake
effects the number of vertebrae that it would have. All snakes have A minimum of 100
vertebrae, some up to 400. The human body only has 32. With the ribs of a snake attached
through ligaments and muscles the snake has much more allowance for movement and
expandability of the ribcage. The human body is less flexible because our bones are
directly connected one another.





Above Right: the skeleton of a snake.

Left: A snake starting it’s shedding, it does this by rubbing its nose against a rock or another rough surface.





Some people believe that the snake is a slimy creature. This could not be any farther from
the truth! “The snake’s skin is made out of a hard, dry material called keratin“(num.
2/A).

“Depending on the snake, it can shed every 20 days to once a year”(3). The reason for this
is. The skin of a snake can not expand and grow with the snake as it is maturing. When
they outgrow themselves they form a new skin layer and shed the old one off.

Snake’s do put wear and tear on the skin to at times to. So they may shed a layer even after the snake is done growing.
If you look closely at a snake that is preparing to shed it’s skin you can tell that its
color has faded and the eyes are clouded over. This is caused when the snake is growing
the new layer of skin, and the older, worn layer is ready to come off. The snake will
usually start to remove the skin by rubbing the nose on a rock or other rough object. When
the snake is finished the outer body is completely rid of its outer layer eyes and all are
replaced. The excess shedding is usually all in one piece.

Have you ever wondered why a snake stick’s its tongue out, is it because it thinks you’re
ugly? No, what its doing is smelling, and tasting at once. “The snake continuously flicks
out its forked tongue to collect scent particles from the air and the ground. When the
tongue draws back into the mouth, the forked tips fit into cell-lined pockets in the
Jacobson’s organ, which detects the odors of the particles it receives. This system is
keenly sensitive, and snakes rely on it to locate both mates and prey“(3).




Jacobson’s Organ; An extrasensory organ in the roof of a snake’s mouth sharpens its sense
of smell. Called Jacobson’s organ, it consists of two hollow, highly sensitive saclike
structures. The snake’s acute odor perception allows it to track both prey and potential
mates.



How about ear’s can they hear? Well, no, and yes. The snake doe’s not have eardrums and
the snake is not designed to do allot of hearing. But it is found to have “low-frequency
bones in their head to help sense vibrations in the water or on the ground”(3).
Surprisingly the snake in general has very good vision. Witch helps them to strike their
prey accurately and safely.

Pit vipers, boas, and pythons all use heat sensitive pits located where you would guess
the nose would be located at. These pits give them the ability to sense heat waves in the
air, put off by other animals. This sense is highly tuned and “gives the snake the ability
to pick up heat fluxuations by half a degree”(4).



There is a saying, “ slithering like a snake” well, witch way? I bet most people do not
know that the snake can move in more than one way. In fact “there are four different ways
a snake can move , serpentine locomotion, a simple crawl, is the most common and the
fastest. The snake contracts its muscles to produce a series of waves in its body, pushing
from the back of each wave to move forward. Snakes also use serpentine locomotion to swim.

“In rectilinear, or caterpillar, movement, a heavy snake uses enlarged belly scales to
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