Why People Fear Snakes?
Reptiles such as chameleons and snakes are ugly creatures that are highly feared by people, especially women, and yet many people may not have encountered a snake or chameleon in their entire lives. Why should one fear a creature one has never seen before? In the evolution of man (read primates), man greatest threat has been the snakes which he has found to be mysterious and curious.
Snake is a Mysterious Creature
A creature that can move from point A to point B and yet has no legs must be mysterious. A creature that will spite on you yet has no eyes must be mysterious. A creature that will strike you at lightening speed yet has no bones must be curious. A creature that will swallow you whole yet its skull and mouth is smaller than what it swallows must be mysterious. A creature that will inject you with deadly venom and you die yet itself is not dying from that same venom must be mysterious. A creature that you will kill yet its dead body goes on to hatch young snakes of itself must be mysterious. A creature that will spot its enemy from a distance yet it has no eyes must be mysterious. A creature that will shed its whole skin and yet grows another skin must be curious. A legless creature that move on land and on water yet it can’t sink must be mysterious. A creature that will keep on hissing and flicking its tongue yet its not saying what it wants must be mysterious.
Lean To Live With Snakes
Do not kill snakes, but rather lean to live with them. Snakes will help keep your garden free of rodents and other small animals that may be pests to your crops. If you live in areas infested with snakes, avoid using sandals in dark places or at night because you may step on one and all will not be well. In some areas, snakes are known to enter into people’s houses at night and people in such areas should learn to cover their beds with nets when they go to sleep otherwise you may wake up to find yourself somewhere else. It’s also a good idea to have anti-snake bite syrup with you or in the hospital near you. In the Mbere district of Kenya, a 31 year-old man woke up from his bed to find his entire foot inside a snake’s mouth and when he used his hand to fight the snake, his fingers were bitten - his leg was amputated and has to do without fingers on his right hand as well.
The Snake is Always Portrayed as a Woman
The truth is, most snakes are not venomous and even those that have venom, they use venom primarily just to kill and subdue prey rather than for self-defense. In the world of mythological tales, the snake is always portrayed as a female for whatever reasons. Why people fear snakes, the answer is partly to be found in the bible, but the stories of the bible may also have been written by people who feared snakes – for example the Jews considered the serpent to be evil and unclean animals.
Silly Questions about Snakes
When people do not understand why something happens, they have to look for an answer from supreme beings or pin the reason to witchcraft. It is from lack of knowledge regarding snakes that man has genuinely been asking very silly questions about snakes. Do snakes have this and that? Such questions include the following:
- Why do snakes hiss?
- Why do snakes have scales?
- Why do snakes come out when it rains?
- Why do snakes shed their skins?
- Why do snakes flick their tongues?
- Why snakes have forked tongues?
- Do snakes have bones?
- Do snakes have teeth?
- Do snakes lay eggs?
- Do snakes have legs?
- Do snakes sleep?
- Do snakes hibernate?
- Do snakes have ears?
- Do snakes pee ?
- Do snakes have eyes?
- How Do Snake Charmers Charm Snakes?
- Do snakes have this and that?
Why Do Snakes Hiss?
You may want to think they are telling you Hallo to have met you and that you look like you can make a sweet meal for today. No, snakes hiss as a defense mechanism when frightened to alert predators to keep off. The hissing sound is due to the fact that the volume of air being sent out by the snake through their constricted airways is large relative to the size of airways – it’s like you blowing a whistle.
Why Do Snakes Have Scales?
Yes, snakes do have scales. Snakes are amniote vertebrates that are usually covered in overlapping scales. The scales are for protecting the skin from destruction and pests. Snakes uses belly scales to move from one point to another. The scales usually will gripe the surfaces as the snake moves – you may have heard the rubbing/gripping sound a snake produces as it moves – relatively, its like a moving construction equipment of the Caterpillar type.
Why Do Snakes Come Out When It Rains?
Snakes lives in low grounds and in holes. When it rains, water fills into holes and there is little air in the holes and it thus becomes uncomfortable for a snake to live in such places with water. The snake will usually come out looking for safe ground just as you would move in higher grounds when it rains and floods are expected. It is during such time that you should expect a visitor in the form of a snake in your house or garden. Such a snake is looking for drier grounds.
Why Do Snakes Shed Their Skins?
You may want to think this is the same reason you change your clothes. A snake’s body is usually covered in scales. Scales are for protecting the snake from pests. One reasons a snake sheds its skin is to do away with old pests as well as replacing the worn out skin. A snake’s scales are smooth, keeled, or granular. The shedding of scales in snakes is called ecdysis which is also known as moulting or sloughing. A snake will shed the entire skin in one piece just as you would remove a sock from your foot inside out. Older snakes shed their skins a fewer times than younger skins meaning that moulting in snakes may aid growth in snakes just as it is in insects. An old snake may shed its skin only once a year whilst a young snake may shed its skin for up to four times in a year.
Why Do Snakes Flick Their Tongues? Why Snakes Have Forked Tongues?
Snakes flick their tongues to smell. The tongue is forked and is used for collecting particles in the air. The particles are forwarded on to the vomeronasal organ in the mouth where they are analysed to detect the presence of predators, prey, physical and chemical changes in the environment. A snake’s forked tongue is constantly flicked to pick this very important information from the air, ground and water. It is from the flicking of the tongue that a snake is able to smell and taste to tell direction and position. Don’t you think a man who does not know what that tongue is for would be justified to say a snake is mysterious?
Do Snakes Have Bones?
For some reasons, many people would want snakes not to have bones. A snake does have bones and its skeleton consists of the skull, vertebrae, ribs, and some vestigial remnants of the limbs. A snake’s skull is a very complex structure. Below is an image of a snake’s skull for you to see.
Do Snakes Have Teeth?
Yes, snakes do have teeth which are found on the lower jaw, the maxilla, the palatine bone and the lateral pterygoid plate. Teeth on the lateral pterygoid plate makes the inner row of teeth that are moved separately from the rest of the jaws when the snake is working over a prey. On the maxilla part are the deadly teeth called fangs that are used for injecting venom.
Do Snakes Lay Eggs?
All snakes have internal fertilization – the eggs are fertilized inside the female snake by the male snake (just like in chicken). Most snakes lay eggs when the eggs are already fertilized. Some snakes are ovo-viviparous meaning they retain their eggs in their bodies until they are almost ready to hatch. Some other snakes such as green anaconda are fully viviparous meaning they give birth to young ones just as placental mammals like you and me. Killing a snake that is carrying fertilized eggs implies that the eggs will still go on and hatch into small snake – its better when you kill a snake you go ahead and burn the carcass into ashes (and for your information, killing a snake is bad motive). You kill a snake by throwing a huge stone to it, if you try to fight it using a stick, it will instantaneously use that stick as a bridge between you and itself and sooner you will be a ready meal for that snake.
Do Snakes Have Legs?
No, snakes do not have legs. Snakes moves by a terrestrial locomotion where a snake’s body alternatively flexes from left and right creating a series of moving waves. By this a snake is able to generate a reaction force directed forward in the midline as it moves forward. A snake will also move by side-winding, swimming, concertina and as well as rectilinear.
Do Snakes Have Eyes? Do Snakes Sleep?
Do snakes have eyes that can see in total darkness? This is just another of those mysterious questions that will make you wonder how little information man has on snakes. There is no animal that can see in total darkness. Snakes do have eyes. But snakes eyes are covered by transparent scales and you may not see them. Snakes do not have eyelids. Snake’s eyes are always open. Snakes do sleep. When they sleep they close the retina instead of closing the eye because there are no eyelids. When the snake sleeps, it will bury its face in the folds of its body. Some snakes have very good vision, others have poor vision but at least they can track the slightest movements you may make. The Asian vine snake is known to have binocular vision capable of focusing both eyes on the same point like binoculars.
Do Snakes Hibernate?
Snakes are reptiles and thus cold-blooded.. Cold – blooded animals have no way to keep warm during the winter months and as such will have to hibernate. Snakes hibernate in caves, hollow logs, crevices in rocks, animal burrows, holes under trees, under wood piles, and in basements. You may find several snakes hibernating in one site. Such a site where a group of snakes hibernate together is called a hibernaculum. When a snake has swallowed a big meal like a sheep, the snake will have to lie dormant for several days as digestion takes place. Digestion in snakes is a very intense activity that generates a lot of heat. A snake's digestive enzymes are very lethal and will dissolve and absorb everything that is eaten by the snake except for prey's hair and feathers. The ideal temperature for effective digestion in snakes is 30 ˚C.
Do Snakes Have Ears?
Snakes do not have external ears but do have internal ears. Therefore, snakes are not deaf. Sound from air and ground vibration is sent to snake’s internal ears through vibration in other body parts. All that body part of a snake that is in direct contact with the ground is especially very sensitive to vibrations and will precisely detect any faint vibration of predator and prey in the air or on the ground.
Do Snakes Pee?
Huh, snakes are like chickens when it comes to peeing. Snakes do poop. But for peeing, snakes do not have a separate pee evacuation function like in mammals. That pee mechanism is in the snake’s body and will dump the pee with the solid waste and what comes out is blended together and you will call it snake’s poop.
How Do Snake Charmers Charm Snakes?
Snake charming is a show performed by roadside by a snake charmer using a snake to entertain people. In the show the snake will respond by dancing to the tune of musical instruments. Snakes are never charmed but what happens is that the snakes’ charmers have extensive knowledge on snakes’ behavior and indeed the snake does not respond to the music but to the movements of musical instruments and such other movements. Environment laws and rights of the animals in most countries do not allow the practice of snake charming.
Snakes as a Delicacy
Snakes are friendly animals that should be protected from farther destruction by man. And for your information, snake meat is a rare delicacy which is highly prized for its pharmaceutical effect of warming one’s heart.
Man does fear snakes, but snakes does fear the tiny safari ants just as man fear snakes.
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Lily on November 06, 2014:
Very informative and simple article...found it very useful..thank you
iguidenetwork from Austin, TX on December 12, 2013:
Amazing hub I should say. Thanks for presenting those seemingly dumb questions about snakes I myself would have asked... But they're not really dumb questions. It's always good to be curious. :)
Faith on April 23, 2012:
At church yesterday, we discussed about snakes whether they had eyes or legs: so i had to come back home and find out from the hub of info on the net, that is why.... am so amazed at the info you relay here, it is educative if it is true! thanks a million at least i have some thing to share out there
anna on November 26, 2011:
Very interesting and useful article. Thanks to the author.
ncknick on September 29, 2011:
The giant picture of the charmer is quite disturbing. Other than that, great info. Very detailed.
chrisanto from Philippines on September 27, 2011:
yes snakes shed off their skin for them to grow bigger I witnessed this in our province... interesting hub and educational...
TexasBobby from Deep in the heart. on September 16, 2011:
Loved the hub. I would like to add one question though...
Does a snake have hips?
Reptile Blog on March 18, 2011:
Wow, I have to admit, I found this snake FAQ quite entertaining and useful. Voted up!
Monitorman on March 02, 2011:
That snake charmer pic is nightmarish!
Hello, hello, from London, UK on November 01, 2010:
Thank you for a brilliantly written, informative hub.