The most common genus of non-venomous snakes is snake, or as it is also called – Real snake. Their Russian name comes from the Old Slavonic word “uzh”. It means rope. Representatives of the already-shaped family outwardly really remotely resemble a small rope, a rope. They live on almost the entire continent of Eurasia, where the temperate climate prevails.
Origin of the species and description
Real snakes are easy to distinguish from other species snake. They usually have small dimensions and specific markings on the head – “yellow ears”. Less common are white, orange markings. Females and males of snakes have practically no external differences. It is possible to distinguish a male from a female only by the size of the tail.
In the male, it is larger, has a thickening, and in the female it is much shorter and without thickening. The most favorite habitat for representatives of the already-shaped family are wet biotopes. These snakes settle near water bodies, swamps, rivers. Snakes are excellent swimmers and divers. They can stay under water for a long time.
The genus of real snakes includes four species:
- Common grass snake;
- Water snake;
- Viper snake;
Interesting fact: Snakes are easy to domesticate. These animals normally tolerate captivity, with proper training they are easily tamed. Cases of domestication are not uncommon in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus.
In some countries snakes are very common. They are easy to meet in forests, near a river or swamp. A person should not be afraid of such animals. They are absolutely safe. These reptiles cannot bite. Maximum – they can only slightly scratch the skin. But to get even such damage will have to try. Most representatives of the species instantly disappear when a person approaches. It’s hard to catch them.
Appearance and Features
Already in the representation of most people is a small snake. However, this is not always the case. Most representatives of this species, indeed, have a small length – a little more than fifteen centimeters. However, there are snakes, the length of which can reach three and a half meters. There are far fewer of them.
The body of the reptile is quite slender, completely covered with scales, the head does not particularly stand out. The head is usually protected by a pair of symmetrically arranged shields. In some species, the scutes are clearly defined, in others — they are almost invisible. Three types of pupils are inherent in the already-shaped family: horizontally, vertically slit-shaped, and round. At the end of the body, the snake has a small tail. It is shorter than the body by about five times. The shape of the tail varies, but the most common is the cone.
Interesting fact: Snakes have periods of molting. The old skin is shed with a cover. This usually happens when overcoming narrow gaps.
The color of the animal’s back can be very diverse. The most common shades are:
- emerald green;
- chocolate brown;
- ash gray ;
- brown shades of red.
The color of the back can be monophonic, or have spots. The belly of a reptile is usually painted in a light color: gray, white or yellowish. It may also have spots, longitudinal stripes. In the mouth, snakes have a forked tongue, small and sharp teeth. Teeth can vary in size and shape. The teeth located on the upper jaw usually increase in size towards the pharynx.
Where does it live?
For living, he already chooses for himself places where there is water and high humidity. They live in villages, mountains, near rivers, ponds, lakes. Snakes are distributed almost throughout Europe, excluding areas with low temperatures (near the Arctic Circle). Individual populations are also found in parts of Africa. The exceptions are very dry areas.
Some species of such reptiles live in the Philippine and Japanese islands. They are found in Asia, Australia. In Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, they live on almost the entire territory. Some representatives of the already-shaped ones differ from the majority of their family. Instead of swamps, damp terrain, they prefer sandy soil and a dry climate. However, there are few such reptiles.
Among the representatives of already-shaped ones there are also burrowing snakes. For living, they choose the forest area. Day or night, reptiles can hide under rocks, leaves, in ravines, if they do not need to hunt. Sharp-faced snakes, for example, do prefer to live in the soil. They are specially buried in loose soil, additionally raking sand on themselves. They are only active at night. They are rarely seen during the day – in the spring when the sun comes out.
What does it eat?
The vast majority of snakes prefer to eat fish and amphibians. The most favorite “goodies” are frogs, tadpoles, various small fish. But in their absence, other representatives of amphibians – tree frogs, toads – go as food. In addition, large reptiles can eat lizards and other snakes, even their own kind. Sometimes lizard eggs become dinner.
Also, small insects, moles, rodents, small rats, mice, voles, small birds, squirrels, chicks, bird eggs often become food. Burrowing reptile species eat mollusks, earthworms, small insects, larvae, caterpillars.
Interesting fact: Adders do not kill their prey before dinner. They swallow it alive. It is easy to swallow small food, but reptiles have to tinker with the extraction of large dimensions. It happens that the process of swallowing is delayed even for several hours.
The hunting methods are different. On land, they actively pursue their future food, and in the water they can wait for hours for the right moment. Also, reptiles of this family cannot live without plentiful drink. They drink a lot of water, but they can easily do without food. After a hearty meal, reptiles can starve for several days without damage to their health.
Peculiarities of character and lifestyle
The reptiles of this family are most active in the daytime. They go hunting in the morning, sometimes in the evening. During the day he can bask in the sun. Already-shaped are active animals. They can deftly climb trees, overcome various obstacles, dive and swim. An adult can stay in the water for a long period of time.
For life, snakes of this species do not build special holes for themselves. They can spend the night in secluded places: in a pile of leaves, under the roots of old trees, in haylofts and in large crevices of buildings. If the terrain is soft, the reptile can make a deep entrance for itself and hide there at night.
The nature of these snakes can be called friendly. They are not aggressive, never attack a person. Seeing people, such a reptile would rather hide from view. If you catch a snake, you will notice three kinds of tricks of these animals, which they use for their protection. First, the reptile will begin to hiss and make small attacks towards the enemy. If this does not scare away, then she will immediately release a repulsive smell. If this trick does not help, then it simply pretends to be dead.
If the vast majority of already-shaped ones are very active, then water snakes prefer a measured lifestyle. At night they are practically motionless, during the day they slowly surf the expanses of water. In case of danger, these animals hide at the bottom.
Social structure and reproduction
Everyone goes through certain stages of development throughout their lives. In particular, puberty occurs only in the third or fourth year. It is at this age that snakes begin to search for a partner for mating and procreation. The mating season for these reptiles begins at the end of April, ends — at the end of summer. The snakes find a partner, mate and in one batch the females lay eggs.
Already quite prolific. At one time, the female can lay from six to thirty eggs. Eggs are laid soft, usually glued together. Future offspring already at this stage needs protection and care, so snakes are always nearby masonry.
Interesting fact: The eggs of such reptiles need special care and protection. They die from drying out and cold. Therefore, snakes prepare in advance for them a special warm place with a humid environment. Usually it is a pile of rotten leaves or a pile of manure.
Embryos begin their development in the mother’s body. There they go through the initial stages. In the eggs, the offspring can already be clearly seen. The incubation period lasts about eight weeks. During this time, the young growth grows up to fifteen centimeters in length. Immediately after leaving the eggs, the young begin to lead an independent lifestyle.
Natural enemies of snakes
Already – a relatively small reptile, located far from the top of the food chain. These reptiles often become victims of other animals and even insects.
Adult individuals are most often attacked by:
They also become prey to large poisonous snakes. They are not averse to feast on cobras. People pose a certain danger to adults. Some of them are caught for keeping at home, others are killed for their own fun. Also, snakes die under the wheels of cars, accidentally being on the track. Juveniles and eggs of snakes are threatened by other dangers. Small snakes are eaten by birds, rats. Smaller rodents and even ants feast on eggs.
Population and species status
Alreadiformes belong to large families . It includes more than one and a half thousand species of reptiles that inhabit almost all continents. Representatives of this species are not found only in Antarctica. Their conservation status is normal. The population of these reptiles causes the least concern.
On the territory of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine, these snakes are the most numerous. They can be found near ponds, rivers, in forests and fields. However, there is no need to be afraid. Such a reptile is not dangerous, never attacks. Some snakes are poisonous. However, their venom is only lethal to small animals.
Despite the normal population, in some parts of Russia this animal is quite rare and is listed in the Red Book of individual regions. An example would be the Moscow region. In such regions, this reptile needs protection.
There is no need to talk about extinction. These animals have a good population, distributed almost throughout the earth’s territory. However, in some regions of the countries snakes are listed in the Red Book, which is associated with a significant decrease in their number.
The following factors influence the reduction in the number of snakes:
- general environmental pollution;
- Intensive deforestation. There is not enough space for laying eggs and raising offspring;
- pollution of water bodies. This especially affects the number of water snakes, for which water bodies are the main habitat.
In some areas that are already listed in the Red Book, protected areas are organized in key habitats of the species. Already familiar to many from early childhood. These are safe, small snakes that live in different parts of the world. They do not harm a person, are easily domesticated, and when they meet, they can only slightly scratch the skin. Representatives of the snake family are not an endangered species, but in some individual cities and regions their numbers are gradually declining due to the deterioration of the ecological situation and intensive human activity.