What is it about snakes?
Why are there so many deflated snakes on the ground?!
Another intriguing thing about snakes, and all reptiles, is that they never actually stop growing! Each snake species has an average size that they reach at maturity, but they will never truly stop increasing in size. The rate at which they grow dramatically decreases once they reach maturity, but as long as they can continue to eat, they will continue to grow. We can see this happen when snakes shed, which is just another very cool and slightly mysterious thing that snakes do. Interestingly enough, all animals (even humans!) shed throughout their lives, we just don’t do it all at once like the snake. Unlike humans and other animals, a snake's skin will stretch, but cannot grow with the snake. When the snake skin is no longer able to stretch with the snake, it will become a shed and the snake will wriggle its way out. Many of us have come across snake skins in the wild and they can be a little bit unsettling if you aren’t sure what they are. The more a snake eats, the more it will shed, but on average, snakes shed about 2-3 times per years. Perhaps the ability to completely shed their skin and “transform” many times throughout their lives is just another reason that humans have been so fascinated by snakes throughout history.
There's so much more!
There are a lot of extremely unique adaptations that snakes have, from their coloration all the way to their individual behaviors. There just isn't enough blog space in the world to talk about all of it! Some great resources for looking up snake facts, both locally and worldwide are:
- Mass Audubon's Snakes of Massachusetts
- National Geographic Snake Facts
- Live Science Snake Facts
Snakes can be tricky to spot in the wild, and I often notice them after I've scared them away, but if you keep your eyes and ears open, you may just be able to spot one on your next walk. They love basking in the midday sun to get energy and they are great at camouflaging with their surroundings. Next time you go for a walk on a sunny day, take time to watch the ground near and around where your stepping for any movement!
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