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Lace Monitor Facts, Pictures, Video

        Animals | Snakes

Lace Monitor Tom Brakefield/Getty Images
Lace Monitor Tom Brakefield/Getty Images

A Basic Body Plan: Snakes are found in almost all corners of the world except Antarctica. Snakes come in many shapes, sizes and colors, and their appearance reflects the environment in which they live. Without legs, eyelids and external ears, they have still evolved into formidable hunters.

Detecting Prey: Smell seems to be a snake's best asset. The snake analyzes scents by flicking its long tongue into the air to gather scent molecules, which are then transferred to the Jacobson's organ located inside its mouth. Some species, such as pit vipers, take advantage of organs on their face known as head pits to detect changes in temperature — another method that allows the snake to find its prey.

Killing Prey: Killing prey can take many forms. Some snakes use constriction. By wrapping its muscular body around its victim the snake can slowly suffocate and crush its prey. Snakes have extremely flexible jaws and can swallow prey that is much larger than their head. The digestive juices slowly kill the victim. Only about one in 10 snakes are venomous and within that group only a small proportion is a threat to humans.

Awesome Eyesight?: Most snakes have adequate eyesight, allowing them to track movements. The exception are arboreal (tree-dwelling) snakes, which have binocular vision. These snakes can focus both eyes on the same point in order to make a precise attack.


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