Snake Factsheet

 

Snakes are the second most prominent group of reptiles, with over 3,000 species. They are separated into over 20 different families and sub-families. It is said that Australia is home to around “140 species of land snakes and 32 recorded species of sea snakes.”

All snakes are ectothermic; thus, they must regulate their body temperature externally. Snakes need to use sources such as the sun to warm up and burrows/ pits to prevent overheating.

Snakes can use their forked touches as a sense of smell from their surrounding; this allows them to sense danger or if the prey is nearby. Snakes can also sense their prey with the “pit holes in front of their eyes”, using the retina’s infrared-sensitive cells, allowing them to sense heat given off by warm-blooded animals. Also, their lower jaw senses vibrations.

Not all snakes lay eggs; approximately 70% of snakes lay eggs; the others don’t. The type of reproduction is based on the environment; in a colder climate, snakes have live births, and in warm environments, snakes lay eggs. This is due to the viviparous snakes being better at thermoregulating their bodies than the egg-laying snakes, allowing them to keep their snakelets warm as they develop through harsh conditions.

The reptiles can shed their skin; this allows room for growth and to get rid of parasites attached to their scales; this process is called “ecdysis”. During the process, the snake usually rubs itself against a hard surface to help them shed the skin.