Can a Chamaeleon kill a snake

Reptiles: Snakes - The silent hunters

They sneak out of their hiding spots when they are hungry. Then they poison or strangle their prey: snakes are silent hunters who have a lot of tricks up their sleeves while on the prowl

When the ground is stony and thickly mossed, every step becomes a test of courage. Is there a snake lurking behind the angular chunk? Or is she crawling under the fern? Thousands upon thousands of the scaly reptiles meander through the thicket of the rainforests, in Asia and Central America, for example.

Or they move inch by inch over the dry, sandy steppes in southern Africa. Often they camouflage themselves so well that people don't even notice them. But it is precisely for this reason that we fear snakes. This fear has always accompanied people.

After all, our ancestors were often enough killed by a poisonous bite in prehistoric times. Even today, up to 100,000 people die each year as a result of snake bites, researchers estimate. And that although the poisonous representatives are in the minority among the almost 3000 known species - only about one in ten snakes is poisonous. Most animals use other means to hunt.

The choice of weapons

Strangler snakes like boas or pythons - their name says it all - choke their prey, thus depressing their air. Other snakes devour their victims alive with skin and hair. They are predators, and those with extremely sharpened senses. Snakes feel even the smallest vibrations of the ground over their lower jaw.

They are also particularly sensitive to odors. On the one hand through her nose, on the other hand through her forked tongue. Thanks to the two tips, you can even "smell" different fragrances at the same time. And that by guiding the tongue inside the mouth to the so-called Jacobson’s organ.

These are two small indentations in the palate where the fragrances are analyzed. So snakes "sniff" early when a prey approaches. Many species are also able to perceive warmth through their pit organ at the front of the head, for example the body temperature of a mouse.

In any case, the whole snake's body is made for hunting and eating: the skeleton consists of many flexible vertebrae and is therefore particularly flexible. In addition, it enables snakes to ingest prey that are much larger than they are themselves. The digestion of the meal then often takes several days, sometimes even weeks. During this time the animals take a long break from hunting.

Camouflage and trickery

It's good that they are well camouflaged even then: snakes that crawl almost exclusively on the ground often wear gray-brown scales. Their relatives on the trees mostly shimmer

green. Thanks to the camouflage colors, the animals are not so quickly targeted by their enemies like birds of prey, crocodiles or big cats. If they are discovered anyway, some species turn out to be great actors. Grass snakes, for example, pretend to be dead to keep attackers safe.

Rattlesnakes make threatening noises by waving their tail rattles. Cobras straighten up and increase the size of the body below the head to look more powerful. Many poisonous snakes wear particularly flashy scales and thus warn against themselves. This has led some far less dangerous relatives to imitate this natural protection.

The red king snake, for example. Her scales shimmer red, black, and yellow, as if she were the twin sister of the deadly harlequin coral snake. She is - like all snakes - a master in camouflaging, tricking and deceiving.

Heart, lungs, stomach, kidneys - snakes have the same organs as other vertebrates. Only the innards of snakes are "drawn longer". Due to their shape, snakes also have a very large surface. This helps them to heat up their bodies very quickly in the sun - because as cold-blooded animals they adapt their temperature to their surroundings. If it is too cold for them, they curl up.

The record holder among the snakes

With a speed of over 20 kilometers per hour, it is about as fast as the world's best marathon runners. This means that the highly toxic black mamba is clearly in first place!

The reticulated python mainly meanders through the rainforests in Southeast Asia. The longest specimen found so far measured around seven meters - as much as two small cars parked one behind the other!

The slender blind snake can be found in the Caribbean - at least sometimes. It is only ten centimeters long and mostly lives underground. There it feeds on ant and termite larvae.

No species of snake weighs more than the great anaconda. Stories about specimens weighing over 200 kilograms are probably exaggerated, but some of the reptiles already weigh 80 to 90 kilograms.

The inland taipan only lives in a small desert area on the Australian continent. People therefore rarely meet him. Fortunately, it could kill over 200 adults with the poison of one bite!