|"Snake" is an ancient word and comes from the Indo-European base
sneg, meaning "to creep"; it is also related to the word "snail,"
which has the same root.
- How long do snakes
live? We can't know for certain, but snakes in zoos have long lives. One
boa constrictor has lived 27 years in a zoo, and a South American
anaconda is still going strong after 28 years!
- How big do snakes
get? They can be very tiny or very large, depending on the kind. The
ground snake is about 5 inches long while a python can grow to be 30
feet in length and weigh 200 pounds.
- How often does a
snake eat? Snakes eat only when they are hungry. This can be once every
3-4 days or the interval may be even longer – weeks or months. Zoo
snakes, because they don't move much, may eat just one or two times a
- Do all snakes lay
eggs to reproduce? No, some snakes give birth to tiny living snakes that
crawl off and take care of themselves right from the start.
- What snake is the
best mother? No snake mothers her babies the way humans do, but the
python mother makes a nest and coils up on her eggs to keep them safe
until they hatch.
- How does a snake
keep clean? Its scales are very smooth and fit together so there is no
place for dirt to catch on a snakeskin. Also, snakes get brand-new skins
every once in a while so they are usually very, very clean.
- How many kinds of
snakes are there? There are about 2,600 different kinds of snakes. Of
these, about 400 are poisonous.
- How many different
kinds of snakes live in the U.S.? There are 126 different kinds of
snakes in the United States. Only 19 are harmful to people.
- Why is it true
that snakes are good for the world? Snakes are very helpful. The small
ones eat harmful bugs and insects. The big ones eat rats, mice, gophers,
and animals that destroy crops. Good farmers and gardeners know how
helpful most snakes are and are happy to have them around. All snakes
except those that threaten people should be kept safe from harm. They
are part of the chain of living things – as we are!