There are well over 2000 species of snakes wordwide. Snakes belong to the order Squamata (they share this with lizards) and the suborder Serpentes. Snakes exist nearly everywhere on the planet, from the United Kingdom, to Africa to Australia. Wherever there is a mild climate, you will probably find snakes. Being cold-blooded, they cannot survive in colder climates, but they have been known to survive sub-zero temperatures for weeks at a time.

Snakes are, from an evolutionary point of view, the newest reptile. They evolved from the lizard, and in the process lost their legs. In the family boidae (which consists of boas and pythons) the remnants of these past legs can sometimes be seen. These are called spurs and are often used to aid mating.

Having no legs, snakes have a very unique way of moving. They contract and relax their body (length wise) while gripping onto the ground with their belly scales. Some species have adopted other methods, such as the infamous Side Winder (most snakes use this method to a certain extent, but it is this snake which is famous for it).

Snakes are carnivorous, with most species choosing 2-3 food types to make up the bulk of their diet. These food types may be rodents, lizards, insects or other snakes. Snakes are famous for their ability to dislocate their jaws to eat food much larger than their heads would appear to allow. The food may be swallowed live, asphyxiated (constricted until air flow is no longer possible), or injected with venom (via front or rear fangs).

The main senses used by snakes in both hunting and predator evasion are the sight and ‘smell’. Snakes smell by tasting the air. They do this by flicking their tongue in and out, collecting particles, which are then taken up to the jacobson’s organ for analysis.

There are a number of types of tongue flicks. Here I will sum up the two major ones. A snake which is comfortable in its surroundings will make short quck flicks which are used to monitor any changes in the current environment. A snake which is active, hunting or alarmed, will often use “long floppy” flicks (if you’ve witnessed this, you’ll know why I called it that), which it uses to take in as much information as possible.

Boas and pythons (Boids)

  • Anteresia childreni – Childrens Python
  • Antaresia maculosa – Spotted Python
  • Boa constrictor imperator – Common boa constrictor
  • Boa constrictor constrictor – Red-tailed boa
  • Corallus hortulanus – Amazonian Tree Boa
  • Corallus caninus – Emerald Tree Boa
  • Candoia bibroni australis – Solomon Island Tree Boa
  • Condoia carinata paulsoni – Solomon Island Ground Boa
  • Eryx colubrinus loveridgei – Kenyan Sand Boa
  • Eryx canicus spp – Rough-scaled Sand Boa
  • Epicrates cenchria maurus – Columbian Rainbow Boa
  • Epicrates cenchria cenchria – Brazilian Rainbow Boa
  • Lichanura trivirgata gracia – Desert Rosy Boa
  • Lichanura trivirgata trivirgata – Mexican Rosy Boa
  • Morelia viridis – Green Tree Python
  • Morelia spilota cheynei – Jungle Carpet Python
  • Python reticulatus – Reticulated Python
  • Python molurus bivitattus – Burmese Python
  • Python sebae – African Rock Python
  • Python regius – Royal Python
  • Python curtus breitensteini – Blood Python


  • Bogertophis subocularis – Trans Pecos Rat Snake
  • Dasypeltis medici – African Egg-eating Snake
  • Elaphe guttata emoryi – Great Plains Rat Snake
  • Elaphe bairdi – Baird’s Rat Snake
  • Elaphe obsoleta obsoleta – Black Rat Snake
  • Elaphe obsoleta rossalleni – Everglades Rat Snake
  • Elaphe obsoleta lingheimeri – Texas Rat Snake
  • Elaphe taeniura ssp – Asian Stripe-tailed Rat Snake
  • Heterodon nasicus – Western Hognosed Snake
  • Lampropeltis alterna – Grey-banded Kingsnake
  • Lampropeltis mexicana – Mexican Kingsnake
  • Lampropeltis pyromelana ssp – Arizona Mountain Kingsnake
  • Lampropeltis getula getula – Eastern Kingsnake
  • Lampropeltis getula floridana – Florida Kingsnake
  • Lampropeltis getula goini – Blotched Kingsnake
  • Lampropeltis getula splendida – Desert Kingsnake
  • Lampropeltis getula californiae – California Kingsnake
  • Lampropeltis calligaster calligaster – Prairie Kingsnake
  • Lampropeltis triangulum elapsoides – Scarlet Kingsnake
  • Lampropeltis triangulum hondurensis – Honduran Milk Snake
  • Lampropeltis triangulum syspila – Red Milk Snake
  • Lampropeltis triangulum campbelli – Pueblan Milk Snake
  • Lampropeltis triangulum annulata – Mexican Milk Snake
  • Lampropeltistriangulum sinaloae – Sinaloan Milk Snake
  • Lampropeltis ruthveni – Ruthvens Kingsnake
  • Lamprophis fuliginosus – African House snake
  • Leptophis depressirostris – Short-nosed Parrot Snake
  • Masticophis flagellum testaceus – Red Coachwhip
  • Nerodia spp – Water snakes
  • Opheodrys aestivus – Rough Green Snake
  • Pantherophis guttatus guttatus – Corn Snake
  • Philothamnus natalensis – Natal Green snake
  • Pituophis catenifer sayi – Bullsnake
  • Pituophis catenifer affinis – Sonoran Gopher Snake
  • Pituophis catenifer catenifer – Pacific Gopher Snake
  • Pituophis catenifer vertebralis – Southern Baja Gopher Snake
  • Pituophis melanoleucus melanoleucus – Nothern Pine Snake
  • Pituophis melanoleucus lodingi – Black Pine Snake
  • Pituophis melanoleucus mugitus – Florida Pine snake
  • Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis – Eastern Gater Snake
  • Thamnophis marcianus marcianus – Checkered Garter Snake
  • Thamniphis cyrtopsis spp – Black-necked Garter Snake
  • Various – Ribbon snakes