How do snakes perceive their surrounds?

Living a life without limbs is something we all hope to never experience, yet this is how God created the snake.
As such the snake has been given some remarkably different ways to deal with a life on its stomach.
Yet it is these traits that spawn a host of old wives’ tails which strike fear into many hearts. Take a moment to learn a bit about these brilliant creatures, and you can overcome the fear and maybe even learn to love snakes.

READ: A day in a life of Bluff photographer Warren Dick

Vision
Most snakes have great vision, but they usually choose to ignore stationary objects. If you should suddenly come upon a snake, the best thing to do is stand perfectly still, as the snake will soon ignore you and quickly move off. Stomping your feet hysterically may cause the snake to see you as a threat, causing it to lash out in self-defence.
Snakes do not have eyelids and as such, they have a scale which covers and protects the eye. This scale is shed every time it sheds its skin. If for some reason the scale does not shed, it can be detrimental for the snake.

Hearing
Snakes do not have external earholes and so, for the most part, they cannot hear sound. However they are very sensitive to vibrations. A snake’s sensitivity to vibrations will often give them a heads-up to your approach and send them fleeing long before you get to them. This sensitivity to vibrations has even given some companies the idea of making a vibrating machine which is supposed to chase snakes, however these do not work. I have often found snakes right next to a busy railway line, so if that vibration does not chase a snake, no machine will.

Smell
Snakes do not use their nostrils to smell.

This task is performed by the forked tongue and an organ called the Organ of Jacobson. Snakes and many other reptiles use their flicking tongues to pick up scent particles in the air, which are deposited on the Organ of Jacobson. This allows them to smell.
Snakes have an acute sense of smell, often being able to track or locate prey several kilometres away. Many people fear a snake’s tongue, thinking it can cause harm, however it is totally harmless and is only used for smelling.
To have some of your insects, snakes or spiders identified, send a Whatsapp message or call 072-211-0353.

 

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  AUTHOR
Lauren Beukes
Journalist

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