Snakes are long, legless reptiles without eyelids or external ears. Without legs for movement, snakes instead flex and undulate their bodies to move around. With such bodily limitations, where do snakes live? Snakes live in a variety of habitats throughout the world, in both terrestrial and aquatic environments.
Excluding Antarctica, snakes live on every continent in the world. Only some islands, including the large islands of Ireland and New Zealand, are without snakes. While snakes live throughout the world, most live in tropical regions. Snakes are ectotherms, regulating their body temperatures by taking in heat from or releasing heat to the environment. For this reason, snakes become inactive or hibernate during very hot or very cold weather.
A species of snake may live on the ground, or in trees, burrows or water. Some snakes spend time in more than one environment. Deserts, tropical forests, temperate forests, swamps and grassland are all common snake habitats. Only a few species are completely aquatic, living their entire lives in water. A few snakes live entirely underground. Some of these underground snakes are completely blind, including the tiny thread snake.
With such diversity in habitats, what do snakes eat? All snakes, regardless of habitat, are completely carnivorous. Snakes eat animals such as lizards, other snakes, mammals, birds, eggs and fish. Because snakes cannot chew, they must swallow their prey whole. The smaller the snake, the smaller its prey must be.