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Do all snakes hibernate?
What Skeletal/Muscular systems contribute to their movement?
How do snake species inject venom and do they all inject venom the same way?
Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to answer my questions. I would personally like to thank you for all your hard work that you do to preserve wildlife through out the world.
Question Date: 2016-06-17
Answer 1:

Do all snakes hibernate?
Not all snakes hibernate! Whether or not a snake hibernates depends on its species and where it lives in the world. A snake that lives in areas of the world that get cold in the winter will hibernate through the season, but a snake that lives in warmer areas, like the tropics, don’t go into hibernation.

For example, a rattlesnake in North America hibernates during the winter season, while pythons in Florida don’t hibernate. Some snakes go into brumation, which is different than hibernation. In hibernation, snakes go into a deep sleep while in brumation snakes don’t sleep through the season, but their activity levels decrease and their metabolism slows.

What skeletal/muscular systems contribute to their movement?
Check out this video on the science of snake movement: video.

Snakes have four methods of movement: serpentine, sidewinding, caterpillar, and concertina. Snakes use their muscular system to help them move. They also have 130-500 vertebrae, each with ribs attached, that aid in their movement. Snakes also use their scales to help them move!

How do snake species inject venom, and do they all inject venom the same way?
Snakes inject their venom by biting their prey, but the injection of venom changes depending on the snake species. It used to be believed that most snakes inject venom using hollow fangs, however less than 1/7 of snakes inject venom with hollow fangs. Most other snakes “punch” two holes into their prey and the venom enters by a groove on the snake’s fangs!

Answer 2:

Do all snakes hibernate?
I am pretty sure the answer is "no". I can't imagine why tropical snakes would hibernate.

What Skeletal/Muscular systems contribute to their movement?
Snakes have the same skeletal and muscular systems that we do. They have no limbs, which means that all of their muscles are the muscles of their torsos, but they're the same as yours.

How do snake species inject venom and do they all inject venom the same way?
Well, to begin with, there are many snakes that have no venom. Those that do have venom I believe all use modified teeth in order to inject it (I don't believe any snakes have contact venom).

Snake venom is thought to have evolved only once in all snakes, which would suggest a common delivery mechanism as well.

Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to answer my questions. I would personally like to thank you for all your hard work that you do to preserve wildlife throughout the world.
You're the one who preserves the wildlife (well, you will be when you're old enough to vote)! We scientists generate knowledge, but that knowledge is then handed to management people, politicians, and voters, who the put it to use.

Answer 3:

What Skeletal/Muscular systems contribute to their movement?
The most common type of snake movement is a rhythmic pattern of bending called lateral undulation, which we usually call slithering. To allow this bending, their spines are made up of many small bones, called vertebrae, which are flexibly connected, similar to the human spine. However, while human spines have 33 bones, snake spines can have over 400. Having many bones in the spine makes the snake flexible because each joint between vertebrae only needs to bend a small amount for the whole snake to bend a lot, which makes snakes much more flexible than humans.

The way snakes can bend allows them to travel through tight spaces and around many obstacles, a very useful skill. Scientists are currently trying to make robots which move like snakes, which could be used to find people for rescue in disaster situations, like collapsed buildings or mines. Also, NASA is developing snake robots for use in space missions. These robots already have a name: Snakebots.

How do snake species inject venom and do they all inject venom the same way?
There are actually two common ways for snakes to inject their venom. Some snakes have hollow fangs connected to the organ that produces the venom, called a gland. When the snake bites an animal, muscles squeeze the gland, and the venom flows through the fang and into the animal. The snake needs to use its muscles to raise the pressure in the gland and force the venom through the fang. Without the muscles pushing the venom out, it would not flow. Think of holding your thumb over the top of a straw filled with water. The water doesn’t flow out of the straw until you remove your thumb.

Other types of snakes have fangs with a groove running down the side of the fang. After the venom is produced by the gland, it is trapped in the fang groove due to a property of the venom called surface tension. Surface tension is the property that makes liquids form droplets, and in this case it causes the venom to remain in the groove instead of falling out, like water droplets hanging on the underside of a leaf. After the snake bites, the venom is sucked out of the groove and into the tissue of the bitten animal, similar to how water is absorbed by a napkin.

One more thing helps both types of snakes inject their venom: the venom flows more easily when it is being injected. When the venom is stationary, it is thick and viscous, like syrup. However, as the venom is driven out of the fang, it becomes thinner, like water, and can enter the body of the bitten animal more quickly. This type of fluid is called a shear-thinning fluid. Another common shear-thinning fluid is ketchup: it sticks in the bottle until you get it moving, and then it flows out quickly.

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