52 min • Nature & Environment • 2016
Snakes are a feature of nearly every culture in the world. 100,000 people die every year because of them. But we also owe our survival to snake predation on rodents. They attract a mythology which sometimes leaves the truth eating dust, but in reality, snakes are some of the most highly adapted animals on Earth. Snakes cheat their prey and confuse their predators using ‘mind games’; they can become invisible by blending into their background; see in the dark or survive years without food; and then when they do eat, they can swallow huge animals, many times bigger than their own body. Some species weight 300 pounds but others are smaller than worms. Snakes live in most ecosystems and without legs, they walk, swim, climb and even fly! This is a celebration of the best, and weirdest, aspects of the world of snakes.