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ZooLab's Favourite Snake Facts

Sunday16th July is World Snake Day, which aims to raise awareness for conservation efforts for snakes all over the world. In celebration, we thought we would bust some common misconceptions about our serpentine sidekicks. With over 3500 different slithery species on earth, there’s plenty to learn! Here are a few of our teams favourite facts.

Pumpkin, the dodoma sand boa, is an example of an ovoviviparous species

Not All Snakes Lay Eggs

"Some snakes are ovoviviparous, which means the eggs hatch inside the snake and give birth to live young! For example, most boa species (boa constrictor, sand boa, rainbow boa, green tree boa etc.) have live babies!" - Lottie

Heat Pits

"Some snakes have little holes on the ends of their nose. They are called heat pits! They act as a thermal heat sensor to tell whether the animal in front of them might be food." - Ellie

Record Breaking

"The largest snake in the world was a 33ft reticulated python!" - Lottie


"My favourite snake fact is some have the ability to reproduce asexually through parthenogenesis! I worked with the only reported Kenyan sand boa in Europe to do it (at the time we think, could be wrong). Prior to this it was believed this individual was a male so we were very surprised to find a bundle of baby boas on our morning round!" - Ben

Poisonous vs Venomous

"Many people call a snake 'poisonous' when they mean 'venomous'. Venom is when an animal bites or stings injecting a toxin. Poison is if they secrete a defensive toxin absorbed through the skin (or eaten). There are only two groups of snakes that are poisonous!

North American garter snakes can become poisonous by eating newts - this would only be temporary and only happens in the wild, not in captivity, where they wouldn't have access to the newts.

Asian keelback snakes also obtain toxins from their prey, this time toads, but retain the noxious chemicals in special glands in their neck, so they can be poisonous long after eating the toads!" - Lottie


"Snakes don't blink! They don't have eyelids, so they sleep with their eyes open. They have protective eye caps to burrow down in the soil without damaging their eyes."- Emily

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