It squirms, it wriggles.
It can be glide and shake.
It’s a legless wonder-
It’s a snake!
You might think that this green garden snake is about to get tangled up in its own tail. But t isn’t. Wriggling and slithering this snake goes exactly where it wants to go. Fish use their fins to wriggle through water. And snakes certainly have tails. Except for its head, you could say that the rest of a snake is a tail. At least it looks that way. But snakes don’t have fins. They don’t have legs. Then how do they move?
Snakes have scales. They wouldn’t be able to move much without them. Their long bodies loop and the scales push against the ground. Twisting and turning snakes gracefully glide along, over rocks and logs and even through mud and sand. Snakes look slippery and slimy. But they’re not. Their skin actually feels like cool, soft leather.
Here’s another thing about a snake’s skin-it comes off! When you grow, your skin grows too. But not a snakes’s. A wriggles right out of it-wearing a new skin that it has grown. The old skin turns inside out as the snake crawls out of it, so that it looks like the old skin has come off backwards. A snake sheds its skin a few times a year.Most snakes won’t hurt you if you leave them alone. Even some of the most dangerous of these long, twisting reptiles are so afraid of people that they will wriggle away so fast as they can if they see you first.
Snakes can’t travel very far in cold weather. Their bodies become too stiff to move. So if you see any snakes taking an early morning sunbath on a rock, they’re probably trying to get warm. After the snakes are warm enough, they will slither away and crawl under a shady rock or log. In places where the winter is cold, snakes hide between rocks or under the ground. They sleep their long, special sleep called hibernation.
In some kinds of snakes the eggs hatch inside the mother snake’s body. In other kinds the eggs hatch outside in a nest snake makes for them in leaves or rotten wood or warm sand. When the babies are born, they wriggle and crawl away to find their own food. Some snakes are as small as worms. Some are so large they can swallow a goat or a pig whole! Most snakes live on the land, but some live in trees and others in the water.
All snakes are good hunters. They must be, in order to live. Instead of eating grass, fruit, roots or vegetables, small snakes eat grasshoppers, beetles and other bugs and insects. Large snakes eat mice and rats. Still bigger ones eat squirrels and rabbits. The huge snakes could eat a small deer if they could catch one. Some snakes even eat other snakes.
There are biting snakes and squeezing snakes. Some snakes catch their food by biting it. Others catch it by wrapping themselves around it and squeezing it. Snakes don’t chew their food. They just swallow it whole. After they have eaten, some snakes rest for two or three days.Snakes aren’t the only hunters, of course. At the same time, they are hunting some other animals are hunting them.
There are snakes that eat birds and the eggs of birds. And there are birds that eat snakes too. Eagles, hawks, owls and other large birds are among the worst enemies that snakes have. The big birds dive from the sky silently and swiftly to catch a snake before it knows the bird is there. Wild hogs catch snakes by stamping on them and then eat them.
The greatest snake fighter of all is probably a thick-furred little animal called a mongoose. It can move so fast that it can jump back from the strike of a giant cobra snake and then jump in and kill the cobra. If you live where cobras live, it is a good thing to have a mongoose for a pet.
Some of the greatest snake fighters are snake themselves. Farmers and other persons who live in places where there are poisonous snakes like to have king snakes and black snakes near their houses. The king snakes and black snakes kill or chase away poisonous snakes.