NATIONAL SERPENT DAY
On February 1st, National Serpent Day gives snakes and serpents alike their slithering due. Across religions and cultures, the serpent has been used as a symbol of evil, medicine, fertility, and much more.
Over 3,000 species of snakes populate the Earth. The world’s smallest snake is the Barbados thread snake. This serpent is smaller than a nightcrawler at about 4 inches. In comparison, the longest snake is the reticulated python and the heaviest is the green anaconda. What was the first snake you ever saw?
- Only 1/8 of the known species are venomous.
- While many snakes may be small, their upper and lower jaws separate. This ability allows snakes to consume prey up to three times larger than the diameter of their head.
- Snakes eat their prey whole.
- Most snakes are nocturnal.
- As creepy as their flicking tongue seems, they use it to smell the air.
- Snakes are cold-blooded, or ectotherms, and must sun themselves to regulate their body temperatures.
- While most snakes lay eggs, some give live birth.
- From anti-tumor treatments to antibacterial properties, snake venom has been studied for medical purposes for many years.
HOW TO CELEBRATE #NATIONALSERPENTDAY
- Visit a zoo or herpetarium to view snakes from a variety of locations.
- Read about serpents, their habitats, and their life cycle.
- Watch a documentary or movie featuring snakes.
- Create a blog post or podcast about snakes.
- Share your experiences with snakes.
- Study the snakes in your area.
- Visit the National Day Calendar Classroom pages for activities surrounding National Serpent Day.
- Use #NationalSerpentDay to post on social media.
NATIONAL SERPENT DAY HISTORY
While the creator of this day has slithered away, we continue seeking the origins of this fascinating holiday.
Q. Is there a difference between poisonous and venomous snakes?
A. Yes. Poisonous snakes, while rare, deliver their poison through secretions in their skin or saliva. Venomous snakes use their fangs to inject their poison.
Q. What other creatures are venomous?
A. Besides snakes, other venomous creatures include:
- Cone Snail
- Box jellyfish
- Brown recluse spider
- Male duck-billed platypus
- Gila monster
Q. Are the words viper and snake interchangeable?
A. All vipers are snakes but not all snakes are vipers. Vipers are a specific subset of snakes and they are all venomous. They belong to the family Viperidae and have long, hinged fangs. Species included in the Viperidae family include the adder, water moccasin, rattlesnake, and mamba.