Frequently Asked Questions

Do snakes really bite with their tongues ?

NO! Some snakes have specially designed teeth called fangs that they use to bite. These snakes use their teeth to inject venom into their prey in order to immobilize them. The venom also helps with digestion.
Snakes use their tongues to “smell” the air around them. They do this by picking up tiny particles in the air and then passes it over a specially designed organ called the Jacobson’s Organ. This organ then analyses the particles and tells the brain what it is that the snake has smelled. It is because of this that we can say that snakes have an excellent sense of smell even if that doesn’t necessarily involve their noses.

Do snakes always aim for the eyes when they spit ?

NO! There are a few snakes that are able to project venom through tiny little holes in their fangs. All the snakes that possess this incredible feature, except for the Rinkhals, are cobras. They project the venom through tiny holes in the front of their fangs by squeezing their venom glands and forcing the venom out. The result is a fine “mist” that spreads out to a relatively large area almost instantly. The reason why most people think they always aim for the eye is because the chances of some of the venom entering the eye when such a fine mist is sprayed, is very good.

Do snakes allways come in pairs ?

NO! Snakes are sollitary animals that travel and live alone. Sometimes, though, snakes do come together to hibernate in a communal spot but this would be more because of the location and not because of the need to be together. Examples of this would be Rattlesnakes and Garter snakes which gather by the hundreds and in the case of the Garter snakes, by the thousands in the winter months. Another time you might find more than one snake in the same area at the same time would be in mating season when the females emit a pheromone which attract male snakes. Think of it as the same as when a female dog is in heat and attracts all the male dogs in the neighbourhood.

Venomous or Poisonous ?

You can safely tell anyone of your friends that there are NO poisonous snakes in the world. All snakes are venomous in that the venom has to enter the bloodstream to do any damage whereas poison is something that have to be ingested or come in contact with the skin. Snake venom cannot do any damage if it falls on the skin or if ingested. It will, however, cause some damage if it falls on an open sore on the skin or if it is swallowed and you have a sore in your mouth or intestines.

Can dead snakes still bite ?

As with all other animals, when snakes die they can no longer act willingly on anything. They do, however, have a very primative nervous system which is why a snake can still move long after it is dead. It is therefore possible but very unlikely that you can come in contact with the snakes fangs while it is wriggling about after it is dead and this might inflict a “bite” that can be potencially dangerous. There are also some snakes that “play” dead for a chance that who or whatever was bothering them, might then leave them alone. The snake might then appear to be dead and when picked up suddenly “come to life” and bite. The best thing to do when you see a snake in the wild is to leave it alone, whether you think it is dead or not.

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