Snakes

The Hispaniolan boa appeared smaller than any other boa the researchers had seen before.

For the First Time in 133 Years, a New Species of Boa Was Discovered in the Dominican Republic

The small snake may be one of the smallest boas in the world

A new study of western diamondback rattlesnakes reveals that they abruptly shift to a high-frequency rattle as danger approaches.

Rattlesnakes Fool Humans Into Thinking They're Nearby With This Sound-Warping Trick

A new study reveals the snakes change the speed of their rattles to appear closer than they are

Olive sea snakes are among the largest marine snake species and sometimes make contact with divers.

Venomous Sea Snakes That Charge Divers May Just Be Looking for Love

A new study suggests apparent attacks are actually fleeting cases of mistaken identity

A juvenile scarlet snake stuck in the web of a brown widow spider in Georgia.

New Research

In a Spider vs. Snake Battle, These 40 Arachnids Would Defeat and Devour Their Serpentine Foes

At least 40 arachnid species kill and eat certain slithering predators, which can be up to 30 times the eight-legged critters' size

A Libo leopard gecko (Goniurosaurus liboensis). After this species of cave gecko was first described in 2013, it quickly appeared online for sale.

Reptile Traffickers Often Target Newly Described Species

Traders trawl recently published scientific papers to get the names and locations of animals to sell to collectors

Pope’s pit viper, a venomous species that lives across Southeast Asia. Someone who is allergic to one type of snake is likely allergic to many types because their venoms have a similar composition.

What Happens When Scientists Become Allergic to Their Research

Researchers spend long periods of time around the organisms they study, and sometimes that exposure has unintended effects

Sidewinder snakes most likely phased out the spikes along their bellies in favor of a smoother belly that can move with no frictional drag.

Snakeskin Reveals Secrets Behind a Sidewinder's Twisted Wiggle

Serpent bellies seem smooth, but on a microscopic level, their species-specific scale structures may show how they adapted to their environments

The brown tree snake slithers through vegetation.

Invasive Brown Tree Snakes Stun Scientists With Amazing New Climbing Tactic

The successful predator, which has decimated bird populations on Guam, lassoes its body around poles in order to propel itself upwards

A newly described python species named Messelopython freyi. The 47-million-year-old specimen is the world’s oldest known fossil record of a python.

New Research

Oldest-Ever Python Fossil Found in Europe

The 47-million-year-old snake pushes the evolutionary origins of the group back some 20 million years

Scientists estimate that the snakes are responsible for decimating 90 to 99 percent of the small mammal population, and they're also known to strangle deer, alligators and birds.

Could Invasive Burmese Pythons Soon Be on the Menu in Florida?

The pythons have devastated the Everglades, and eating them could help control their growing population

One specimen of the ultra-black fish species Anoplogaster cornuta.

Innovation for Good

Ten Scientific Discoveries From 2020 That May Lead to New Inventions

From soaring snakes to surfing suckerfish, nature is an endless source of inspiration

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Smithsonian Voices

Rare Iridescent Snake Discovered in Vietnam

The discovery could help scientists piece together new information about snake evolution.

Two-headed snakes struggle more when their heads are joined close together.

In Florida, Pet Cat Brings Home a Rare Two-Headed Snake

The snake is now in the care of Florida Wildlife Conservation's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute

100,000 people die from venomous snakebites each year, a problem the Instituto Clodomiro Picado seeks to address with its antivenoms.

The Lab Saving the World From Snake Bites

A deadly shortage of venom antidote has spurred a little-known group of scientists in Costa Rica to action

A small-banded kukri snake seen with its head thrust inside the body of an Asian common toad. This snake does this to feed on its prey's internal organs, and, perhaps, to avoid the poisonous milky secretions that can be seen on the toad's back.

New Research

This Snake Slurps Organs of Living Toads in Grisly Feeding Strategy

Researchers say no other snakes are known to feed this way, adding that the snakes may feed this way to avoid toxins secreted from the toads’ backs

Critterpedia allows users to identify Australian spider and snake species with the snap of a photo.

This Australian App Is Like 'Shazam' for Spiders and Snakes

New AI tool will help users identify venomous species

The neotropical rattlesnake, Crotalus durissus, inhabits at least 11 South American countries. This species of viper is widespread and thrives in dry climates.

Smithsonian Voices

The DNA of the Viper Reveals an Ancient Map of South America

Although vipers are famous for their venomous bites, it turns out these snakes have another story to tell

New research suggests this legless amphibian called a caecilian may be the first known amphibian to possess a venomous bite.

This Worm-Like Amphibian May Pack a Venomous Bite

A new study suggests that legless burrowers called caecilians may be the first known amphibian to have venom glands in their mouths

Without wiggling, a paradise tree snake couldn't glide nearly as far.

New Research

Flying Snakes Need to Wriggle Through the Air to Glide

The paradise tree snake flattens its body and swerves in three dimensions to glide through the canopy

Reptile vertebrae found at el-Wad Terrace Cave

15,000 Years Ago, Humans in Israel Ate Snakes and Lizards

Snacking on reptiles may have helped these prehistoric people adapt to living in more permanent settlements

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