15 of the World’s Most Incredible Snake Facts

Written by Kristen Holder
Updated: November 16, 2023
Share on:

Advertisement


With over 4,000 different kinds of snakes in the world, there are a lot of incredible snake facts worth noting. Some of these facts are specific to one kind of snake while others apply to most snakes. All are interesting, nonetheless.

Let’s jump in and look at 15 of the world’s most incredible snake facts.

15 of the World’s Most Incredible Snake Facts

15 of the World’s Most Incredible Snake Facts are:

108,018 People Couldn't Ace This Quiz

Think You Can?
  1. A reticulated python ate a human.
  2. Rattlesnakes can bite when dead.
  3. King cobras are the only snakes that build nests for their babies.
  4. King cobras are not true cobras.
  5. The most venomous snake can kill up to 100 people.
  6. Some animals aren’t affected by snake venom.
  7. Snake venom may help cure cancer.
  8. A high blood pressure medication contains Brazilian pit viper venom.
  9. The heaviest snake in the world is an anaconda.
  10. Titanoboa was the biggest snake to have existed.
  11. Snakes are known for having 200-400 ribs.
  12. A snake’s eyes have no eyelids.
  13. Snakes don’t have ears.
  14. Using a disgusting musk while pooping is a common defense tactic used by snakes.
  15. The St. Lucia racer is the rarest snake in the world.

1. Reticulated Pythons Will Eat Humans

Biggest Snakes: The Reticulated Python

The reticulated python can eat people.

©Opayaza12/Shutterstock.com

There’s only one recorded case of a person being eaten by a snake from 2017. It leaves one to wonder if it’s been happening in the past and nobody knew about it. Just because this case was caught on camera, doesn’t mean it’s the first.

An Indonesian man by the name of Akbar Salubiro had gone missing and was found inside a snake in Sulawesi. The reticulated python that ate this man was 23 feet long. The man’s last known whereabouts had been harvesting palm oil before his disappearance.

2. Rattlesnakes Can Still Bite Even When They’re Dead

Rattlesnake Showing Rattle

A

rattlesnake

that’s dead can still bite you.

©DMartin09/Shutterstock.com

Most people that live in rattlesnake country know that if you must kill a rattlesnake, you need to cut off its head and bury it. That’s because the snakes have a slow metabolism, so even though they’re technically dead, they still have some reflexes that haven’t shut down yet. They can still strike and envenomate.

While rattlesnakes are the most notorious for this, it can happen with any venomous snake. If you’re in the unfortunate situation to have to dispatch a venomous snake, always make sure its head is buried quickly.

3. Only King Cobras Build a Nest for their Babies

King cobras use ground debris to build a nest for their babies. They lay up to 40 eggs in one go and then sit on top of the nest they’ve created to defend it.

As soon as the babies hatch, the mother leaves. She does not stay around the way some species do.

4. King Cobras Are Not Real Cobras

Photo by Dr. Anand Titus and Geeta N Pereira 12 - The Mystical King Cobra and Coffee Forests Author Michael Allen Smith from Seattle, USA

King cobras are technically not cobras.

©Michael Allen Smith from Seattle, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0 – License

King cobras belong to a different genus of snakes than other cobras, they aren’t technically a cobra. However, their shared characteristics with real cobras earned the king cobra its name.

King cobras also stand tall when threatened, and they flatten their necks as part of their display. It’ll also bare its fangs while hissing just like a cobra.

5. The Inland Taipan has the Most Powerful Venom

fierce snake

The inland taipan has the most powerful snake venom on earth.

©reptiles4all/Shutterstock.com

Australia houses the most venomous snake on earth. This snake has venom that’s 50 times more potent than a king cobra’s venom. Any human will die within 30 minutes if it isn’t immediately treated.

One dose of the inland taipan’s venom will kill 100 people or 250,000 mice. It’s recommended that anyone who suspects they may come near an inland taipan bring antivenom with them for immediate use should a bite occur.

Despite the inland taipan being the most venomous snake out there, no recorded deaths exist.

6. Some Animals Are Immune to Snake Venom

Mongooses and opossums are two animals that seem to have a very high tolerance for snake venom. Opossums have a natural immunity to pit viper venom while mongooses have a natural immunity to cobras. That’s why they regularly feast on dangerous snakes.

While some animals have immunity to the venom of certain snakes, it doesn’t mean they’re immune to all snake venom. Closely related snakes are often immune to each other’s venom, especially if they’re the same species.

7. Some Snakes Have Venom that Might Help with the Fight Against Cancer

Snake venom is a hot topic when it comes to the research and development of cancer treatments. There are documented studies where different snake venom was able to shrink the size of various tumors including breast cancer.

While more studies need to be done before any human trial of substance occurs, the current knowledge is promising.

8. Venom from the Brazilian Pit Viper is Used to Treat High Blood Pressure

Brazilian pit viper venom is used to treat hypertension. Injecting yourself with Brazilian pit viper venom is not the way to lower your blood pressure, but the study of bite victims and some tests paved the way for the development of valuable pharmaceuticals.

9. Anacondas Are the Heaviest Snake in the World

Biggest Snakes: The Green Anaconda

Anacondas are the heaviest snakes on earth.

©Patrick K. Campbell/Shutterstock.com

Anacondas can weigh up to 500 lbs. which makes them the heaviest snake in the world. They’re so large they’ve taken deer and crocodiles as prey.

They’re constrictors, so they crush their prey before swallowing it whole. Like most constrictors, they’re nonvenomous.

10. Titanoboa: The Biggest Snake that Ever Existed

titanoboa size

Titanoboa is an extinct snake that weighed 2,500 lbs.

©Michael Rosskothen/Shutterstock.com

Titanoboa existed long ago and is much bigger than any snake alive today. It was 8 times bigger than the average human coming in at a whopping 2,500 pounds. Some believe it constricted fish, but this is a point of debate, and no one is sure how this monster lived its life.

11. Snakes Have a Lot of Ribs

Snake Skeleton Vertebrae

Snakes have 200-400 ribs.

©iStock.com/Baramee Temboonkiat

Most snakes have between 200-400 ribs. To put this into perspective, humans have 24. A snake’s ribs are somewhat flexible for mobility and prey ingestion purposes since snakes often eat things that are larger than their body width. 

12. Snakes Can’t Hear Well Because They Lack Ears

Snakes still have a little bone in their head a lot like the human inner ear, so they can make sense of some basic vibrations and keep their balance. However, they’re almost always not responsive to sound so making a bunch of loud noises to keep snakes away isn’t going to work.

13. Excrement, Musk, and Snake Defenses

More snakes than you’d desire release excrement and what’s called a musk when cornered and other displays haven’t worked to deter a threat.

Snakes have a cloaca, which is one hole for reproduction, waste, and their musk. This cloaca spills out musk, feces, and urine to help make the snake so repulsive that the threat will go away in disgust.

14. Snakes Will Try to Eat Meals So Large They Explode

A six-foot alligator seemed like a good meal for a 13-foot python, but it made the python explode. Giving prey that’s too large to pet snakes is also something that can cause death, so snake enthusiasts take care to pick out the proper meal for their pet.  

15. The Rarest Snake in the World is the St. Lucia Racer

There are less than 100 of these snakes in the wild and they only live on St. Lucia in the Caribbean. It was thought to be extinct until it was rediscovered in the 1980s after being decimated by mongooses and other invasive species for a century.  

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Mark_Kostich/Shutterstock.com

Discover the "Monster" Snake 5X Bigger than an Anaconda

Every day A-Z Animals sends out some of the most incredible facts in the world from our free newsletter. Want to discover the 10 most beautiful snakes in the world, a "snake island" where you're never more than 3 feet from danger, or a "monster" snake 5X larger than an anaconda? Then sign up right now and you'll start receiving our daily newsletter absolutely free.



Share on:
About the Author

Kristen Holder is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering topics related to history, travel, pets, and obscure scientific issues. Kristen has been writing professionally for 3 years, and she holds a Bachelor's Degree from the University of California, Riverside, which she obtained in 2009. After living in California, Washington, and Arizona, she is now a permanent resident of Iowa. Kristen loves to dote on her 3 cats, and she spends her free time coming up with adventures that allow her to explore her new home.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.