How Do Snakes Behave?



  • There are approximately 2,700 different species of snakes in the world. Although different species of snakes have different characteristics, many traits are shared by all species of snakes.

    All snakes are limbless, carnivorous, cold-blooded reptiles with scales. The majority of snakes exhibit similar behaviors. This article discusses behavioral traits shared by the majority of snakes.

Solitary Life

  • The majority of snakes live a solitary life, only coming together to breed. Solitary snakes even start their young lives off alone. Snake parents do not rear their young. Baby snakes must fend for themselves in the wild.

Snakes are Not Aggressive

  • Snakes generally only attack for the purpose of hunting for food or in self-defense. Even for the purpose of self-defense, snakes would prefer to slither away to avoid a confrontation if given the opportunity. A snake is most likely to attack a person if he is grabbed or disturbed. The snake feels cornered and attacks out of a perceived lack of choice to retreat.

Snakes Are Cold-Blooded

  • Snakes are cold-blooded reptiles and rely on the environment to regulate their body temperatures. Unlike humans, snakes cannot internally regulate their own body temperatures. Snakes are often seen basking in the warm sun. They do this to get warm. When they become too warm, they find shade to cool off.

Eating Habits

  • All snakes swallow their food whole. All species of snakes have teeth and poisonous snakes have fangs. Snakes only use their teeth or fangs to grab and hold on to prey. They do not have the physical ability to chew and so they swallow their food whole.

    Snakes do not eat on a daily basis. Some snakes eat every few days, while some snakes eat every few weeks and some snakes eat every few months. Thin-bodied snakes tend to need to eat more often than thick-bodied snakes.
    Some scientists theorize that snakes in warmer temperatures digest their food more quickly and therefore eat more often. This is just a theory and not based on scientific fact.

Snakes Smell with Their Tongue

  • All snakes have an extraordinary sense of smell. Their sense of smell is much better than that of a human's. When snakes are seen flicking their tongue, they are actually smelling their environment. Snakes smell with their tongues. They have an organ called a Jacobson's Organ. The Jacobson's Organ is located at the top of their mouth. The snake flicks its tongue out of its mouth to catch tiny molecules in the air, which it brings back into its mouth to the Jacobson's Organ where it can identify the smell.

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