How do snakes move?

How do snakes move?

Snakes do not have legs, so they slither and slide. But what does this mean?

Snake locomotion (movement) can be serpentine, concertina, rectilinear, or sidewinding.

Serpentine movement is also called lateral undulation, and it is the most common way for snakes to move. The movement looks like an ‘S’ shape. Terrestrial snakes, that live on the ground, use this type of movement. Aquatic snakes, that live in water, also use this type of movement. 

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Animal Ears: do big animals have big ears?

Do big animals have big ears and small animals have small ears? No, animal ears are many sizes and shapes.

Most ears have an outer ear (a pinna, a canal, and an eardrum), a middle ear, and an inner ear.

The pinna is the fleshy part that is visible. It is made of cartilage, not bone, so it is soft. It usually also has an ear lobe. The pinna directs sound through the canal to the eardrum.

The pinna has a muscle that moves the ear. For example, elephants and dogs can move their ears. Animals move their ears in the direction of a sound so that they can hear better.

Not all animals can move their ears because they have weak and non-functioning ear muscles. Animals that cannot move their ears include gorillas and monkeys. Humans cannot move their ears (without touching them).

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Gippsland Water Dragon

The Gippsland Water Dragon (Intellagama lesueurii howittii) is an arboreal eastern Australian agamid lizard. It is a reptile.

The Gippsland Water Dragon is a brown-green-grey lizard with a row of spikes at the base of its head (called a nuchal crest). Its throat has yellow, orange, or blue blotches. It has black bands across its back, tail, and legs.  It has long legs and claws, which are good for climbing trees, and a long, muscular tail, which is good for swimming. It can change colour to camouflage itself in its environment. It has brown eyes.

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American Alligator

The American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is a large reptile, and also a crocodilian,  in the Alligatoridae family and Crocodilia order. Crocodiles, alligators, gharial, and caimans are all crocodilians.

The American Alligator is dark grey, black or olive-brown, with a broad U-shaped snout (nose) and sharp, triangular teeth. Its teeth are not visible when its mouth is closed. Its underbelly is creamy-yellow. It has a long tail and short legs with claws.

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Savannah Monitor Lizard

The Savannah Monitor (Varanus exanthematicus) is a medium-sized African lizard, living in East Africa, southern Africa, and some areas of West Africa. It is a reptile.

The Savannah Monitor Lizard has a blackish or dark grey body, with five or six rows of yellow blotches, but there can be other colour variations. It has a broad, bulbous snout and a rounded tail. It has short legs.

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Nile Monitor Lizard

The Nile Monitor (Varanus niloticus) is a medium-sized African lizard. It is found in most of Africa, except West Africa. It is a reptile – the second largest reptile in the Nile River (second to the Nile Crocodile).

The Nile Monitor has mainly grey-brown muscular body with rough scales, green-yellow bars on its tail and green-yellow irregular spots on its back. It has a yellowish throat and underbelly. It has short, strong legs, with sharp claws. It uses its claws for digging, climbing, and for defense. Its long tail is powerful, which it can whip in defense.

It has powerful jaws with sharp, pointed teeth that become blunt with age, and a snake-like, forked tongue. It has large nostrils on its snout, and it has an excellent sense of smell. It is a good climber and swimmer.

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Rhinoceros Chameleon

The Rhinoceros Chameleon (Furcifer rhinoceratus) is a chameleon lizard with a horn-like nose. It is a reptile from Madagascar.

The male Rhinoceros Chameleon has a long horn-like nose above its mouth, with the horns pointing forward. The female has a smaller nose. It is generally grey or light brown and the nose can often be bluish. They have a white line on each side of their body.

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What’s the difference between African Skinks: Eastern Striped Skink and Five-Lined Skink?

What’s the difference between the African Eastern Striped Skink and the African Five-Lined Skink?

The African Eastern Striped Skink (Trachylepis striata striata) and the African Five-Lined Skink are lizards found in East Africa and southern Africa. They are similar in size and colour.

The African Eastern Striped Skink has two yellowish stripes that run lengthwise on either side of the spine, whereas the Five-Lined Skink has five lines.

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Alligator Teeth, Crocodile Teeth

Alligator teeth and crocodile teeth are different.

An alligator has a large, fourth tooth in the lower jaw that fits into a socket in the upper jaw.

A crocodile does not have a fourth tooth in the lower jaw.

An alligator’s teeth are not visible when the mouth is closed.

A crocodile’s teeth are visible when the mouth is closed.

Both alligators and crocodiles have between 74 and 80 teeth. As they wear down, they are replaced. They can have 3,000 teeth in a lifetime. Continue reading “Alligator Teeth, Crocodile Teeth”

CREATURE FEATURE: Red-Headed Rock Agama

The Red-Headed Rock Agama (Agama agama) is a lizard found in most of sub-Saharan Africa.

The Red-Headed Rock Agama has a brown-black body, red head, white underbelly, and a tail with a light stripe down the middle. The dominant male has a red head, blue body and yellow tail, whereas females and adolescents have an olive-green head.

Its size varies from 13-30 cm (5-12 inches) in total length. Males are usually longer than females.

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East African Nile Crocodile

The East African Nile Crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus afrocanus) is a reptile in the Crocodylidae family and the Crocodilia order. It is the largest freshwater predator in Africa, and the second largest reptile in the world, second to the Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus). It is a crocodilian.

The East African Nile Crocodile is dark brown with faded blackish spots and stripes across its back, with a dirty-yellow belly. The colour darkens with age. It has four short legs, a long powerful tail, and a long snout with sharp teeth. They have thick scaly skin.

It has green eyes. Its nostrils, eyes and ears are on the top of the head, so that they can be seen out of the water when the rest of the body is underwater.

The East African Nile Crocodile has 64-68 sharp, pointy, cone-shaped teeth. It it loses a tooth, it can be replaced. On each side of the mouth, there are five teeth in the front of the upper jaw (premaxilla), 13 or 14 in the rest of the upper jaw (maxilla), and 14 or 15 on either side of the lower jaw (mandible).

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