Snake Facts Which You Probably Didn’t Know

Snakes aren’t all bad – and they’re DEFINITELY not all the same. Take a look through these facts and be surprised!

  • Australia has a BIG snake. The Amethystine or Scrub Python of Northern Queensland has grown up to lengths of around 5m. Their diet can include wallabies.
  • Australia’s most dangerous snake to humans is generally accepted to be the Coastal Taipan. This is because of the toxicity of its venom, its proximity to humans, its enormous (up to 12mm long) fangs, and the fact that it often jumps as it bites.
  • Our large pythons should also be considered highly dangerous. In 2005 a death occurred as a result of constriction by a python. These can kill in minutes – none of our venomous snakes can make the same claim.
  • Snake venom works in a number of different ways: it can thin the blood, causing internal bleeding and organ damage; it can break down muscle tissue; or it can affect the nervous system, causing paralysis, respiratory failure, vomiting and other symptoms.
  • Snakes DON’T EAT PEOPLE! It might sound obvious, but snakes are generally timid and will move away when disturbed by humans. Snakes eat frogs, mice, rats, lizards and birds. Their venom is designed to kill or immobilise prey quickly to avoid the snake sustaining any injuries.
  • Under observation, a Taipan was killed by a rat which it bit and then held on to for too long. The snake died from the injuries sustained from the rat’s retaliation (before the rat itself died).
  • Snakes can and do come out at night. On very hot days, many snakes will avoid the heat and emerge in the evening.
  • Some snakes can hold their breath underwater for up to 30 minutes. In 1992 a snake fatality occurred when a person was trying to kill a snake, perhaps believing it could not effectively bite him underwater. It could.
  • Snake Venom is useful! And not just in the creation of antivenom: research into uses for snake venom is ongoing, but its powerful toxins have already found uses in medicine including blood thinning, pain relief, and tumour treatment.
  • Worldwide, snakes have been found living on or under the ground, in trees, in the sea, and in fresh water.
  • The South East Asian Paradise Tree Snake can ‘fly’ by jumping between trees and flattening its body in the air like a ribbon. They have been known to fly over 100m!
  • Snakes cannot be taught in the same way as, say, dogs, horses or parrots.
  • Snakes cannot blink or close their eyes.
  • Snakes can swallow prey 3 times larger than their own mouth.
  • Although they do not ‘chew’ their food, snakes can have up to 200 teeth.
  • Only 5% of victims of bites from the African Black Mamba have survived.
  • The amount of venom harvested from one milking of a Taipan can be enough to kill millions of mice.
  • It is illegal to remove snakes from the wild.
  • The Australian ecosystem would suffer greatly if snakes were removed: they are extremely important middle-order predators, and form part of the diet of birds of prey, kookaburras, and of other reptiles.

Please note, these notes have been gathered from various sources and have been edited to make for easy reading, and not scientific accuracy!

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