Snakes are among the most versatile creatures on the planet. They have adapted to living in African Deserts, tropical jungles and even warm coastal waters. They are cold-blooded and rely on their surroundings to regulate their body temperature, so only the coldest of environments are inhospitable.
Third grade is a good time to begin studying how or why things happen. Below are some project ideas and examples of snakes that live in a variety of habitats to get you started.
A great way to demonstrate the ways a snake interacts with its environment is to create a shoe-box diorama. The diorama should include the snake of your choice, the habitat in which it lives and how its needs for food, water and shelter are met. Be creative. Use small toys or clay to make animals. Use construction paper, cutouts from magazines or paint to create the backdrop. You can even glue on stones, sticks or grass for added realism.
A big regular or tri-fold poster is a simple way to organize and present information. Research how a snake has adapted to its environment. Include pictures of your chosen snake, where it lives, what it eats and other interesting facts about your reptile. For a more in-depth project, compare how different snakes from different locations have evolved special adaptations to survive in their habitats. Do they have special camouflage? Are their bodies shaped differently? How do they hunt? Are they poisonous?
Nothing gets attention like a live animal demonstration. If you have a pet snake and your teacher and school approve, you could use it for the project. Research your snake's natural habitat, and try to recreate it in its cage. If possible, bring in examples of your snake's natural prey and explain how your snake would catch it. If your snake is gentle enough, and if you get permission, you might let everyone touch the snake.
The anaconda is the world's largest snake, according to National Geographic. It lives in the Amazon and Orinoco rain forests of South America. The abundance of food in the tropical habitat allows anacondas to be huge -- up to 29 feet long and weighing more than 550 pounds. Anacondas usually travel in swamps and waterways. The anaconda is a constrictor, which means it squeezes its prey until it stops breathing.
Rattlesnakes are native to t high elevation in the mountains of North America. Because they're camouflaged to match the rocky terrain, they developed a "rattle" on their tails to warn anything getting too close. They come out to sun themselves on rocks when they get too cold and slither into the shade when they become too warm. They poison their prey when they bite.
Related to the rattlesnake, the sidewinder lives in the deserts of North America, Africa and the Middle East. In order to travel across the scorching hot sand, it arches its body so that only two points touch the ground at any one time. It has a horn over each eye, which helps it locate and surprise prey while buried in the sand. The sidewinder poisons its prey.
The sea snake lives most or all of its life in the tropical waters of the Indian and Pacific oceans. It does not have gills, so it needs to surface to breathe air. Some species of sea snakes cannot even crawl on land. To help it swim, it has a flattened tail that works like a paddle. It is highly poisonous and catches fish in open water.
The hognose snake is native to the plains of North America. It has adapted its characteristic upturned snout to dig out its prey of toads, rodents and lizards from prairie soil. The hognose snake's dull yellow and brown coloring helps it blend into the ground cover. It uses toxic saliva to subdue prey but is harmless to humans.