Which Habitats Do Snakes Live?


With more than 3,000 species of snake worldwide, it should be no surprise that they have adapted life to live in some fantastic habitats.

Snakes can be found on every continent except Antarctica. They can be found in habitats ranging from rainforests and deserts. Snakes have adapted to life in trees and freshwater, saltwater, and swamps.

Snakes are cold-blooded and endothermic, using the heat around their bodies to keep warm. Because of this, snakes are not found in very cold places.

Most snakes are found in warm places where they rely on external temperatures to keep them warm to stay active at all times of the day and night. Snakes will hibernate in cooler areas, spending most of the winter months asleep.

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Tree snake

Tree snakes

Snakes are the perfect shape for life in the trees. Snakes can move quickly through the trees with long, thin, flat bodies.

Tree snakes have several adaptations for life in the trees. Many snakes have long and thin tails, allowing them to coil tightly around the branches. To give them extra grip, tree boas and pythons have ridges on their belly sales to provide them with extra grip.

To keep hidden, many tree snakes have excellent camouflage. Most are brown or green with leaf or branch-like patterns to keep them concealed from their prey and predators. The patterns break up their body shape, with some looking like moss and lichens.

Living in trees allows snakes to prey on many animals, including birds and lizards. The jaws of tree snakes are strong to ensure they don’t drop their prey. Many tree snakes have excellent reflexes to allow them to prey on birds before they take flight.

Tree snakes are often thinner and lighter than terrestrial snakes allowing them to reach different branches.

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Deserts

When you think of animals in deserts, snakes are probably one of the first that comes to mind. Deserts are full of snakes for a couple of reasons. Because snakes are ectothermic, they get their body heat from their surroundings, and deserts are hot by their very nature.

Because snakes don’t need food to produce body heat, they don’t have to eat much food. Although there is food for snakes to eat in deserts, snakes can survive for a long time without food.

Snakes have waterproof skins that stop them from losing much water, essential when water is difficult to find. To avoid the intense heat and the cold nights, desert snakes can often be found between rocks or in rodent burrows.

Snakes are often very difficult to spot in the desert. The colours are often very similar to their surroundings of rocks and sand.

Desert snakes often move in different ways from other snakes. Many travel in a movement called sidewinding. Sidewinding allows the snakes to travel in a sidewards motion, which helps them in several ways.

Sidewinding helps them stop sinking into soft sand while also keeping them cool as only a tiny part of the body touches the hot sand while they move.

Other snakes, such as the desert horned viper, shuffle its body under the sand. They can disappear under the sand by flattening their ribs. This allows them to strike their prey while not being seen.

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Water snakes

There are many types of water snakes, and they live in lots of different habitats. Some live in marshes, lakes and rivers, while others live in saltwater.

Like other snakes, water snakes do breathe air, but they can stay submerged for a long time. Because they have large lungs, they can stay underwater for several hours at a time.

Sea snakes have several adaptations to living in saltwater. They have glands on their heads that allow them to get rid of some salt. Because they have to catch and subdue their prey quickly while at sea, they are highly venomous, which they inject through hollow front fangs.

Water snakes live mainly on fish, frogs, toads, and salamanders. They are, of course, excellent swimmers and will dive to avoid predators. Their eyes and nostrils are towards the top of the head, allowing them to breathe and see without taking their heads out of the water.

Do you know why snakes have different colours?  Find out in this article I wrote.

Urban areas

Because snakes cannot control their temperature, they can often be found taking advantage of man-made areas. Unfortunately, this does mean that snakes can enter homes through small holes and can often be found in woodpiles, yard debris, and under properties.

Snakes take advantage of warm pipes and can also be seen around cool, damp areas and leaking water pipes during hot temperatures.

Snakes can often be found around houses looking for food and shelter. By cutting down on the amount of both, it is easier to keep snakes away from your home.

Did you know that snakes don’t stop growing?  Find out more here 

Mountains

Many snakes can be found in mountainous regions, although due to their ectothermic bodies, they are not found at high elevations. However, some pit vipers, including copperheads and rattlesnakes, have been found up to heights of  4,000 meters (13,000 ft.)

Some of the most dangerous snakes can be found in mountainous regions, such as the Eastern brown snake found in the blue mountains in Australia. Mountain snakes are often camouflaged in their habitats, although some species, such as the Arizona mountain kingsnake, have red or orange, white, and black stripes.

California chain snake

Grasslands

Grassland snakes can often be seen lying around to recharge their energy. They survive on a diet of smaller animals, including mice, frogs, toads, lizards, and vegetation.

Grassland snakes are camouflaged with shades of greens and brown, allowing them to blend in with their surroundings of dirt and grass. They can typically be seen before they can be heard as they have shiny scales underneath, allowing them to slide around without making much noise.

Grassland snakes make their homes in burrows that they make or take over from another animal.

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