Character and varieties of snakes

Character and varieties of snakes

According to the Bible, snakes bring evil. The serpent-tempter persuaded Eve to eat the apple of knowledge and treat it to Adam. For this, God kicked them out of Paradise. This is probably why people have a definite opinion about snakes. Which one is well known.

At all times, people have been afraid of snakes. In addition to fear, snakes also inspire some kind of antipathy. But people and animals are not born with this fear. Children and young animals are not afraid of snakes and do not disdain playing with them. Later, when they grow up, they begin to fear them. Different animals have different perceptions of snakes. Some, having met a snake, quickly, as if they were blown away by the wind, jump away. Others - wild bulls, goats, elephants, deer, antelopes - want to trample the snake. Pigs, hedgehogs, mongooses want to eat it. Monkeys are terrified of snakes.

People are afraid of snakes because they know little about them, and not all people study them. My peers know almost nothing about them. I also knew little until I started studying them. True, in nature I could only observe lizards that are found in our area. I started reading about snakes in books and realized that they are not harmful at all and there is no need to be afraid of them, you just need to know how to handle them. I learned a lot of interesting things about snakes, and I want to share this with you.

Snakes have an elongated body that becomes thinner towards the end of the tail. The skin is covered with scales, there are no limbs, the head is small, oval or triangular in shape, and in almost all snakes it is flattened. The opening of the mouth extends far beyond the eyes, so the mouth opens very wide. The colors and patterns of the skin of snakes are very different, there are snakes of the same color, and sometimes they are decorated with different patterns, which consist of spots, stripes, rings, dashes, specks, and many tropical snakes have very bright colors. Still, most snakes have modest attire that matches the general background of their environment. Snakes living in the desert have a sandy-yellow color, snakes that live in trees have a greenish color, those living in a place where there is a lot of vegetation have a variegated color, and the warmer the climate, the brighter the color.

Snakes are called reptiles, probably because they crawl on their bellies not only on level ground, but also up and down on stones and trees. They succeed very easily because their body consists of muscles and a very flexible spine. Snakes are very agile. When they rush at prey or run away from an enemy, they look like an arrow that has been fired from a bow. A snake can climb to the top of a tree with such speed that you can't keep up with it with your eyes.

Many people think that snakes bite with their tongues, but this is not true! With their tongue they feel objects that come their way. The tongue helps snakes a lot, because their eyesight is worse than other reptiles, but their eyes are special. Their peculiarity lies in the fact that instead of eyelids, like in humans and animals, their eyeball is covered with a convex transparent skin. The eyes of snakes seem motionless, as if made of glass, and the skin looks like a watch glass, in which the eye can move in different directions. This skin protects the eyes from bruises, punctures and any debris that can damage the eye. And they have a keen eye. It has long been believed that snakes have a magical look and hypnotize their prey so that it cannot escape. But that's not true! Many animals are simply very curious.

Snakes also have an interesting feature: they shed their skin, as if taking off a stocking.

Snakes are very irritable. All snakes, even if they are not poisonous, begin to hiss and can, in anger, rush at anything to bite. They bite with teeth that are located not only on the jaws, but also often on the palate. They have salivary glands located next to their teeth, which are poisonous. When the snake bites the surface of the victim, it releases its venom, which enters the wounds and then into the blood, after which the victim quickly dies. Only those who are bitten by a non-venomous snake will be lucky.

All snakes are predators and feed on those animals that they catch, kill and can swallow, because they cannot bite off food in parts and chew. The smallest snakes feed on worms and insects, but large ones, like boa constrictors and pythons, can swallow even large animals. One shot python had an adult antelope in its stomach, which did not have a single bone broken.

Snakes live everywhere on our planet, except Antarctica, of course. True, on many small and large islands that are far from the mainland, there are no snakes. Those who are afraid of poisonous snakes can live peacefully, for example, in Polynesia, New Zealand, Madagascar, the Greater Antilles, and even in Crimea, but only on its southern coast.

There are legends that snakes descended from dinosaurs that lived more than 100 million years ago. As time passed, the dinosaurs gradually turned into other animals, some of them turned into snakes.

Various peoples worshiped snakes. At all times, different peoples have composed legends in which various animals and birds participated, and snakes were no exception.

The legends and myths of ancient Greece talk about snakes, where they are not given the best role. In these legends, snakes bring harm to people. Ancient heroes, for example, Hercules, the son of Zeus, fight snakes. His father made him the strongest and the bravest. Even in infancy, he fought with snakes, which were sent to him by the goddess Hera to destroy him. However, the boy strangled them as soon as the snakes approached him and his brother. Later, when Hercules grew up, he fought Hydra. It was a monster with the body of a snake and nine dragon heads, one of which was immortal. The Hydra lived in a swamp, and crawling out of its lair, destroyed the herds and devastated the surrounding area. Hercules lured her out of the swamp only after setting the swamp on fire on one side. Sensing the fire, the monster crawled out of the ambush and crawled away from Hercules into the forest, he overtook her in one leap, stepped on her neck and cut off her head with a swing of his sword. When Hercules cut off one head, another grew. To defeat her, he burned the torso with burning tree trunks in the place of the cut off head, and the heads did not grow back. He buried the immortal head and covered it with stones so that it could no longer come to light.

Medusa Gorgon also caused only evil to people. Snakes grew on her head instead of hair. If people looked into her eyes, they turned to stone and turned into a statue. Hercules defeated her without looking her in the eye, using only a mirror shield. He cut off her head, but even after that she continued to kill anyone who looked into her eyes, so he placed her in a special bag.

Another ancient Greek hero, Cadmus, also fought with the serpent, who served the god of war Ares. This snake lived in a grotto, not allowing the residents to collect water, it killed them. His eyes sparkled with fire, from his mouth, in which teeth grew in three rows, a triple sting burst out, and a golden crest swayed menacingly on his head. Cadmus defeated the serpent, killing him with his spear.

In Russian chronicles, snakes were presented mainly as Gorynych Snakes, who burned villages and stole women and children to satisfy their hunger.

Unlike the Greeks, the Egyptians worshiped snakes. The pharaohs wore the image of a snake on their headdress, it signified power and authority. The Egyptians raised terribly poisonous snakes with their children, and the snakes did not cause them any harm. After dinner, the father of the family clapped his hands, and the snake crawled out of its hiding place. She was presented with bread soaked in wine and honey, which she ate with pleasure. The Egyptians believed that snakes were created for the benefit of man and killed only evil and bad people. Even to this day, the belief has been preserved that if you kill a male or female from one pair, the surviving snake will find and bite the killer. As happened in Kipling's fairy tale, in which the father killed the male, and the female decided to take revenge and kill her son. But the brave mongoose protected this family by killing the cobra and destroying the eggs it laid in the beds.

The snake highly revered by the Egyptians is called the Egyptian asp, or Cleopatra's snake, or simply gaya. The asp reaches a length of two and a quarter meters and is very similar in color to a spectacled snake. Not only does a person die from its bite within 10-20 minutes, it can also spit poison at a distance of 1-1.5 meters.

Guy never backs down, and takes a defensive position, tucking the front of his body, flaring his neck and hissing angrily. Adders feed mainly on mice, jerboas, toads, frogs, lizards, and small birds.

Snake charmers use adders very often. They catch them very easily. They stick a stick into the asp’s hole and, when it digs in its teeth, they jerk sharply, breaking off the teeth. They do this several times, and then they pull out the exhausted snake and, by pressing on the back of the head, temporarily paralyze it. Until the snake comes to its senses, they break off the remaining teeth and go to the market with it.

One of the most remarkable snakes that live on the American continent is the Crotal, or rattlesnake. Its main distinguishing feature is the rattle, or rattle, at the end of the tail. It consists of several cone-shaped horny rings that sit one after the other at the end of the tail. These rings are the remnants of skin after the annual molt, so it is easy to determine the age of the snake from them. When the snake is angry and preparing to attack, it shakes the tip of its tail and the rattles rattle, warning the enemy that the snake has serious intentions. The length of the snake is about 1.5 meters, the main color of the snake is dark gray, slightly tinged with brown. Irregularly shaped dark spots and black stripes are scattered throughout the body. Her belly is light yellow with small specks.

At the beginning of the 19th century, there were a lot of rattlesnakes in North America. Now, due to cultivation, they remain only along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. These snakes like to live in rocky areas, near fertile valleys or rivers and streams. They are very sensitive to temperature changes; when it gets cold, the snake petrifies, freezes and does not show any signs of life. But as soon as you take her into the warmth, she immediately comes to life. Rattlesnakes are quite lazy and will never attack first unless disturbed. The venom of this snake is very strong and quickly leads to the death of not only humans, but even bulls, horses and deer. She bites with extraordinary force; even thick boots and rough clothing cannot save her. It can bite right through even a thick stick. The only animal that is not afraid of the bites of this snake is the pig. The pigs devour them with great pleasure, leaving only their heads. Farmers, before plowing the field, release pigs there, and then they are not afraid of encountering rattlesnakes there. They know that they have long been running in panic from the voracious pigs.

There are many varieties of python, they have different colors, they all live in different places, mainly in the tropics. Pythons reach a length of 8 meters; according to one naturalist, pythons 10 meters long were found in Ceylon. Pythons tightly squeeze their prey, and only when the victim dies from suffocation do they start eating.

Python marks are very easy to spot; they leave a whole trail behind them. There is no escape from this snake anywhere, since it swims well in water, even in the sea, easily climbs the tallest trees, and in the open it moves with extraordinary speed. Death can only be avoided by lighting a fire that will force him to retreat.

In America there live snakes such as boas. These are very large snakes that live in rivers and at the same time crawl onto land for lunch, however, they also feed on fish. In America, benefits are derived from killed boa constrictors: their meat is eaten, among African Americans the fat is considered a cure for many diseases, and various things are made from the skin, such as shoes, belts, and suitcases. One of these snakes is Anaconda. This is a very tenacious snake; it can go without food for a long time and do without air.

One day a zoo came to Europe with Anaconda in it. She got sick from constant moving and lay motionless in her cage. The guard, seeing this, was afraid that her death would be blamed on him, opened the bars of the cage, as if she had escaped, and threw the snake into the lake. Everyone believed that the snake had really escaped, they searched for it for a long time, and the guard was sure of its death. However, after the zoo left, local residents near the lake began to see this snake; it crawled out at night and attacked animals. They tried to catch her, but to no avail. Winter came, and the lake became covered with ice, people thought that the snake had died. However, spring came and the snake appeared again, this continued for several years in a row.

Poisonous snakes also include sea snakes, which are found in the Indian and Pacific oceans. These snakes look more like eels than snakes. The body is flattened on the sides, the head is small, the tail is like an oar. They live only in the seas and oceans and never go onto land, and do not even enter rivers. They feed on fish and give birth to live young. Their main enemies are sharks and eagles.

Snakes and vipers live in our area, they are very similar, they are often confused, but snakes are still distinguished by yellow-orange spots near their heads. Snakes swim well and can live in water. Snakes can often be found in dense bushes along the banks of rivers, lakes and swamps. Snakes are not uncommon in damp forests, in old abandoned buildings, and even in human dwellings, in cellars or in a pile of garbage in a yard. They love to live in chicken coops, get along well with chickens and even lay eggs in abandoned duck or chicken nests.

In Ukraine, in the old days, snakes were taken into the house instead of cats, and they hunted for mice. In the old days they believed that if you kill a snake, you will soon get sick.

Snakes are excellent swimmers, they can lie on the bottom for a long time, and in case of danger, that’s where they look for salvation. Sometimes they climb onto the backs of waterfowl and look for fish from there. Snakes are also excellent tree climbers and very deftly move from branch to branch. In case of danger, it takes a defensive pose, hisses menacingly, but rarely uses its teeth. If he is captured, he sprays terribly smelly feces at the enemy - this is his entire defense.

The snake's favorite food is frogs, which it swallows alive. They get used to captivity quite quickly and soon don’t even try to escape.

In the spring, around mid-April, waking up from hibernation, vipers crawl out of the ground. They crawl to higher ground to bask in the sun. They hunt mainly at night, exploring rodent burrows and voids under roots. Their food includes mice, voles, lizards, frogs and other small animals. Vipers are not voracious snakes: in order to live, they only need to eat a hundred times less per day than the snake itself weighs. They give birth to live young. At the same time, they already know how to hiss, and are already very poisonous.

One of these vipers is called Gyurza, it reaches a length of 2 meters. This is a very dangerous snake, especially since it is often found near human settlements. This snake is interesting because they hunt birds collectively. They guard birds near the water; up to twenty vipers gather on every hectare around springs and other bodies of water. And this is not a random hunt, but a real raid organized by snakes.

In India, the craft of snake charmer has existed since ancient times. He squats down next to the basket and removes the lid from it. In the basket lies a coiled spectacled snake. The caster takes out the pipe and begins to monotonously play a drawn-out and plaintive melody. After some time, the snake begins to worry, sway, expanding its shield, and hiss angrily. She rushes at her caster several times, as if she wants to bite him, but under the gaze of the fakir, she stops, as if indecisive. Finally, the snake calmed down, as if listening to music, began to gradually coil its coils and sank into the basket. But snakes hardly hear sounds, so music cannot influence them. This means that the caster is hypnotizing her with his gaze.

In the 17th-18th centuries, snake venoms were studied by Italian scientists Francesco Redi and Francesco Fontana. Fontana discovered poisonous glands in snakes. Redi, wanting to prove to the Duke of Tuscany that only the poison of a viper is harmful, drank the bile and saliva of this snake in his presence. Such a demonstration, of course, requires great courage. But even if he drank the snake’s venom, if there were no ulcers or wounds in his mouth and stomach, nothing would have happened to him. The poison only acts when it enters the bloodstream.

People use snake venom to make medicine. The symbol of modern medicine is a snake wrapped around a bowl. It is believed that the wise snake gives away its venom for medicinal purposes. The medicinal properties of the poison were discovered recently, only at the beginning of the twentieth century. In America, a snake bit a patient with epilepsy. He not only survived, but, moreover, after this bite his symptoms of the disease disappeared forever. Currently, snakes are kept in special nurseries where poison is obtained.

There is a lot more that can be said about snakes. And everything I learned about snakes will be useful to me in adult life.

Snakes don't kill for nothing, just for their dinner. They do not attack first; only in defense can they attack a person. I think that snakes are very wise, and people sometimes destroy them without thinking about the fact that they can harm mother nature. All earthly creatures are needed on this earth; nature does not do anything just like that.

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