Snakes are elongated carnivorous and limbless reptiles that belong to the suborder of Serpentes. There are more than 3,500 species of reptiles that have been classified based on their limbless condition and considerably elongated body and tail. Snakes are represented with the lizards and are in the order of Squamata and over the course of evolution, snakes have undergone a structural reduction and loss of limbs. Like all the Squamata, snakes are also heterothermic or cold-blooded, amniote vertebrates whose whole body is covered with overlapping scales. All snakes lack external limbs and few people confuse that all the legless reptiles are snakes. Well, that’s not true, certain lizards are also legless but they do not come under the classification of snakes.
Most of the species of snakes have skulls with several more joints when compared to other reptiles. This allows the snakes to easily swallow preys that are twice their size as the snakes also have highly movable jaws. Snakes also have movable eyelids which allow them to focus or stare at their prey with full concentration. Snakes have paired organs in their bodies that allow them to fit all the organs in their narrow body. Kidneys appear in front of another and also few species have snakes that have only one lung or it is greatly reduced in size. Snakes also don’t have any ear openings and internally they also don’t have any urinary bladder. One unique feature of snakes is that they possess increased numbers of vertebrae and have developed two new qualities among vertebrates which are the presence of a tracheal lung in the neck region and a venom conducting system for the prey.
Most species of snakes are non venomous but the ones which are venomous use it to kill the prey. The venom possessed by the snakes is enough to kill giant animals and the nonvenomous snakes either swallow their prey alive or kill it by twisting their bodies.
There are many theories on how snakes evolved but one theory suggests that the snakes might have evolved from the lizards in the middle Jurassic Epoc which is about 174.1 million to 163.5 million years ago.
Snakes are found in every continent except Antarctica and other smaller islands and few larger islands such as Ireland, Green land, and Iceland. They are also not found on the small islands of the Atlantic and the central Pacific oceans. twenty families of snakes have been currently recognized which comprises about 520 genera and about 3900 species.
Snakes can range in size and they can be as tiny as the Barbados thread snake which is only 10 cm long and it can be also as big as a python which is about 7 meters in length.
The Scientific Name of Snake
Snakes belong to the kingdom of Animalia and are carnivorous reptiles that belong to the suborder of Serpentes. There are almost 520 genera and 3600 species of snakes identified all across the world. Except for Antarctica, small islands, and few large islands such as the islands of New Zealand, Ireland, and Iceland, snakes are found everywhere in the world. Snakes come in various sizes, they could be as small as the Barbados thread snake which is only 10 centimeters in length and it can also be as large as the Python which comes close to 22 feet in length. Green Anaconda(Eunectes murinus), is also one of the largest snakes which is 17 feet in length and weighs up to 70 kgs. The record for the longest and longest snakes goes to an extinct snake by the name Titanoboa (Titanoboa cerrejonensis) which was 42 feet in length and weighed almost 1500 kilograms. Titanoboa lived 67 million years ago and became extinct after 10 million years. The reason for its extinction are unknown but few believe that it got extinct because it was unable to adapt to the changing condition of the earth
Although there are 3600 different species of snakes all around the world. Below are scientific and the common names of few well-known species are given.
Indian python or the Rock python- Python molurus
Red Sand Boa or the John’s Snad Boa - Eryx johnii
Common watersnake- Nerodia sipedon
Burnese python-Python bivittatus
Common worm or the blind snake- Ramphotyphlops
Rat snakes- Ptyas
Green whip snake -Dryophis
Common pond or the grass snake
Common pond or the grass snake-Tropidonotus
vine snake- Ahaetulla nasuta
Indian cobra-Naja Naja
King Cobra – Ophiophagus hannah
Banded Krait – Bungarus caeruleus
Russell’s Viper – Daboia russelii
the saw-scaled pit-less viper-Echis carinata
African black mamba-Dendroaspis polylepis
Coral snake - Callophis
The rattlesnake of North America-Crotalus
Coastal Taipan-Oxyuranus scutellatus scutellatus
Inland Taipan-Oxyuranus microlepidotus
Common Death Adder-Acanthophis antarcticus