An eastern coral snake, southeastern US and northern Mexico, 80 cm (30 inches) long. Coral snakes are highly venomous, but very...Read More >>An eastern coral snake, southeastern US and northern Mexico, 80 cm (30 inches) long. Coral snakes are highly venomous, but very few bites are recorded as the snake is shy, spending most of its time buried in the leaf litter on the forest floor. Snakes are a group of reptiles that have long, narrow, scale-covered bodies and tails and no limbs. Some legless lizards resemble snakes, but snakes are distinguished from them by their lack of external ears or eyelids. Snakes have many more bones in their spines than other animals. They move by flexing their belly muscles, which are attached to their many ribs. As they move, most snakes curve their bodies into a series of S-shapes, giving them greater speed. Snakes moult throughout their lives, ridding themselves of old, worn skin and replacing it with a bright new layer of skin from time to time.
Many snakes lay eggs, and a few kinds will guard them from predators until they hatch. There are some snakes, such as sea snakes, that give birth to live young. In all cases, young snakes are left to fend for themselves at birth.
There are 3315 known species of snake.
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