Now that it's officially the year of the snake , we thought it might be helpful to share some interesting facts about the serpent. Along with being phenomenal at slithering around, snakes come after dragons in the Chinese zodiac, replacing the symbol of good fortune and power with wisdom and mystery. Part of the 12-year cycle of animals that make up the zodiac, people born under the snake are thought to have good tempers and strong communication skills but may have jealous and suspicious tendencies. Click through for a collection of snake pictures paired with more information about our slithering friends.
There are more than 3,000 kinds of snakes in the world, from 28-foot-long pythons to small garden snakes. And these reptiles live in the sea, on land, and in trees.
Snakes rely on the heat from the sun to control their body temperatures, which explains why most are found in warm climates. And snakes are shy creatures that prefer to keep to themselves.
Some of these serpentine creatures only need nourishment a couple of times per year, but all are carnivores, eating everything from ant larvae to antelopes. Snakes have powerful muscles located along the front half of their bodies, which allows them to swallow and move prey through the mouth and into the stomach.
Snake's scales are made of keratin, the same as our fingernails. And these reptiles don't have eyelids but instead a clear scale that protects the eye when needed. Certain sea snakes can breathe through their scales, allowing them to stay underwater longer.
When snakes are busy swallowing prey, a small tube located at the base of the throat allows them to breathe even when their mouths are full.
Without an enlarged cerebral hemisphere, which is found in birds and mammals, snakes aren't able to learn or really think about much — other than curling up in the sun for a long nap.