Do You Know All of These Deadly Snake Facts?


By: Zoe Samuel

6 Min Quiz

Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Snakes: the stars of horror movies, villains in Disney movies, and even a central character in the Bible. They are usually depicted as sinister, wily, and aligned with the bad guys. They make up lies, they give bad advice and they're greedy. Bad guys even turn into them sometimes, turn other objects into them, or send them to do their evil bidding. Very rarely do you ever see a snake that is working for the forces of good.

Of course, in reality, snakes aren't any of those things. They're just trying to get by, and rarely attack a human, even more rarely other than in self-defense. However, that doesn't mean they can't do a lot of damage when they put their minds to it. There are over 600 species of deadly snake, that live across six continents, and on land, in trees, and in the water. Snakes kill thousands of people per year, most of them in environments where there is relatively little access to medical aid. 

Given how dangerous they can be, knowing a little about snakes can save your life. So let's find out whether you have the chops to stay safe if you do find yourself in a vipers' nest!

How do snakes blink?

Snakes don't have eyelids but they do have a scale over their eye to protect it. Therefore, they do not have to blink.


Which continent has the fewest snakes?

Antarctica is the only place without snakes - as they cannot survive in a place where there is no sunlight for a long period of time.


What are the main ways deadly snakes kill?

Deadly snakes are typically either constrictors, or they are venomous. Neither is a very nice way to go!


What is the longest snake ever recorded?

The longest snake ever recorded, at 33 feet, was a reticulated python. It is a constrictor and generally doesn't bother humans.


What is the biggest venomous snake?

The king cobra can make it to 18 feet long. It has venom but can also constrict its prey.


How often do snakes typically shed their skins?

Snakes typically shed several times a year once they are fully grown, but it varies depending on the species.


How many people do snakes kill annually?

Deaths from snakebite and constrictors put together come to about 50,000 globally. This figure is greatly reduced compared to the days before effective antivenom, good infrastructure, and of course, phones.


What type of snake has a hood?

Cobras have hoods, generally speaking, as do tiger snakes, bronzeback snakes, and a couple other kinds of snake. They produce the hood by flattening their neck out to make them appear bigger, which intimidates their prey.


What breed of snake is the deadly Nagini from Harry Potter?

Nagini is some sort of viper, though the books are not 100% clear what exactly. Nagini is a servant of Lord Voldemort, who can communicate with snakes in their language of Parseltongue.


What's a good way to tell if a snake is poisonous, based on its head?

Snakes with more arrow-shaped heads are generally venomous, but not always. It's a good idea to just assume a snake is venomous unless you know otherwise.


What characteristic of the eye tells you that a snake is probably venomous?

While not all snakes with slitted pupils are venomous, snakes with round pupils typically are not. It's also not a guarantee, though, so watch out.


What kind of snake is Kaa from The Jungle Book?

The book Kaa is actually Mowgli's friend and mentor, while the version appearing in the films is definitely a villain, albeit not the most major one. Kaa is a python, a kind of constricting snake.


According to legend, what snake can turn you to stone just by looking at you?

The Gorgons' hair is made of snakes, and looking up the Gorgon will indeed turn you to stone. In Harry Potter, the basilisk has this power, but this is not from mythology. A basilisk is not always a large snake in mythology: it's king of the reptiles, but not just a snake.


How does a boa constrictor reproduce?

A boa constrictor keeps its eggs in its body until they hatch, meaning the babies coming out, instantly hatch and are ready to slither under their own steam. This guarantees that they are best able to stay safe.


How do snakes chew?

Snakes don't chew, they just swallow their prey whole. They can unhinge their jaws, which are not fixed in their heads like mammals' are, meaning they can swallow a creature bigger than they are.


How do snakes stay warm?

Snakes cannot stay warm without the warmth of the sun, which they get from sunbathing for hours. They especially like a nice warm surface like a rock or sand.


How often does a boa constrictor hunt, at minimum?

A boa constrictor can go for several weeks without eating if it has to, and assuming it has had a nice big meal. It will grow more torpid but otherwise it will be fine.


How does a boa constrictor kill its prey?

Since many creatures can often go quite a while without air, and can pass out and seem to be dead, but actually still be dangerous. However cutting off the bloody supply to the brain is a surefire way to kill them. The snake can even monitor the heart rate of its enemy.


What is a "pelvic spur"?

A pelvic spur is a sort of protrusion from the snake where its legs would be, that looks somewhat like a claw. It helps the snake get around and is also used in mating and combat.


How many lungs do deadly snakes have?

Most snakes only have one lung, but boa constrictors have two. This is possibly due to their superior size, meaning they can fit two.


How long does a boa constrictor live in the wild?

Generally in the wild, boas live 20 to 30 years. However, they can live much longer in captivity. This is why it is highly recommended not to keep one as a pet, since it will outlive a great many owners (plus it requires a lot of care).


What color is a coral snake?

Coral snakes are highly venomous, and are black, red and yellow. A number of snakes have evolved to look like them, in order to scare people away - which is generally a wise course if you see one, just in case.


How fast can a snake strike, relative to a human blink?

Snakes can complete a strike in a quarter of the time it takes the human eye to blink. So that means by the time you've spotted it about to come for you, it's already got you. The trick is to simply not get that close in the first place.


What trick does the spider-tailed horned viper use to catch its prey?

The spider-tailed horned viper can wiggle its tail in a way that really looks like a spider from a distance. Birds then come to investigate, whereupon the snake pounces.


How do snakes hear?

Snakes don't have ears, and they don't use sonar or echolocation. Instead they "hear" by feeling vibrations through the ground, which they use to get a sense of the world around them.


Where do you find flying snakes?

There are five species of flying snake to be found in southeast Asia. Flying snakes live in trees and they launch themselves from branches and then writhe in the air in such a way as to make the best of their flattened bodies.


How do snakes see?

Snakes have regular eyes, but some species also have something called a pit organ that is like another set of eyes. It senses infrared light, meaning it effectively works like a heat-seeking device. Snakes can use this to "see" their prey in the dark.


Which snake has the fastest strike?

The aptly-named death adder doesn't mess around, boasting the fastest strike on the planet. It can inject poison and be back where it was before you even know what happened.


How many people could the inland taipan kill with a single bite, in theory?

The inland taipan does not mess around. Its poison is so toxic that at any time its sacs contain enough to kill 80 people. Fortunately it is unlikely to bite more than one at a time!


What are rattlesnakes' rattles made of?

The rattling scales are made of keratin, like your hair and nails. Every time the rattlesnake sheds its skin, it adds another circle of rattles.


What is the most common toxic snake in North America?

People did not used to know that the garter was venomous at all, but it is. It's a milder toxin than most that would probably not kill you.


How often do snakes grow new fangs?

Snakes' fangs wear out and need to be replaced, with a fang lasting from 6 to 10 weeks. Snakes then grow a new one and shed the old, the way humans shed our baby teeth.


What is one reason for the forked tongues of snakes?

The two forks of the snake's tongue taste very slightly different amounts of chemicals, which helps the snake figure out which way to go.


How far can the Mozambique spitting cobra spit poison?

This cobra can spit poison a full 8 feet, which is handy considering that sometimes it has to do it from the ground and sometimes its opponents are larger animals walking on four legs.


How long can an anaconda hold its breath underwater?

An anaconda can stay down for 10 minutes and still keep swimming. This is a constrictor which has been known to grow as large as 28 feet long.


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