Mon. Jul 4th, 2022

Join us as we look at some of the weirdest snakes in the world!

Number 14. Albino Nelson Snake

Also known as the Nelson’s milksnake, this strange-looking serpent stands out from the

average brown variety. With nearly pure white scales broken up by bold red rings, the albino

Nelson is a stunning creature. It is a type of king snake that lives mostly in Mexico

from Jalisco and Guanajuato to the Pacific coast, as well as on the Tres Marias Islands

and in northwestern Michoacan . These slithering reptiles grow up to 42 inches long and are

– fortunately – not venomous. Nelson’s milksnakes were named for the U.S. Biological Survey

member Edward W. Nelson, who worked for the organization beginning in 1890.

Number 13. Tiger Keelback

This weird snake is found in East and Southeast Asia. It’s also called the “yamakagashi” in

Japan and the “floral snake” in Korea. Tiger keelbacks are deep olive in hue with bright

orange and black stripes or spots – similar to the pattern of a tiger – that travel down

around a third of their bodies. Their underbellies are whitish, and they grow up to 39 inches

long. These serpents mostly feed on frogs and toads but also eat other small vertebrates.

Tiger keelbacks aren’t very aggressive when they feel threatened. Instead of striking

quickly like many other snakes, they tend to flatten themselves and stay still when

temperatures are cold and flee when temperatures are warm. This species also has two glands

in its neck that isolate steroid irritants they obtain from the poisonous toads they

ingest. Tiger keelbacks use this compound as a defense against predators.

Number 12. Queen Snake

Queen snakes aren’t the strangest looking reptiles with an overall dark brown, gray,

or olive color and yellowish stripes that vertically run down their bodies from head

to tail. They also have four darker stripes that span the length of their bellies, which

is important for their identification since no other snakes of similar species exhibit

this pattern. The queen snake is truly unusual because of its highly specific environmental

requirements and dietary needs. These serpents can only survive in places with clean running

streams and drainage pools that have rocky or stony beds. Plus, the water must remain

a minimum of 50 degrees Fahrenheit when the queen snakes aren’t hibernating during the

winter. The reason for all of this is due to the snake’s prey, which is made up almost

exclusively of newly-molted crayfish. When crayfish have just molted, they’re unable

to properly defend themselves, and queen snakes take full advantage of that.

Number 11. Common Vine Snake

Although its name implies that it’s ordinary, the common vine snake looks anything but.

Also called the long-nosed whip snake, this bright green serpent is very slender with

a narrow, pointed face and squinty eyes that seem to say, “what are you up to?” Common

vine snakes live in Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, India, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Bangladesh.

These slithering critters are somewhat venomous and arboreal and prey mostly on lizards and

frogs. Common vine snakes use binocular vision to hunt, which means they can discern one

3D image using both of their eyes – kind of like humans. Despite their tiny size, these

snakes move slowly and blend in with the foliage and vines of their environment.

Number 10. Burrowing Asp

These sleek snakes are only native to the Middle East and Africa. Other common names

for these serpents are mole vipers, stiletto snakes, burrowing vipers, and side-stabbing

snakes. “Side-stabbing snake” refers to this creature’s ability to strike at prey or predators

with the side of its head and plunge a single protruding fang into its target, thus injecting

them with venom. Burrowing asps can be any of about 19 species of snakes, one of which

is the Israeli mole viper. This threatening asp is generally black with round pupils set

in small eyes. Its tail and head are short and pointed, making it difficult to tell which

end is which – an important task for any potential victim. They grow up to about 31 inches in

length and are highly venomous. Although this mole viper prefers delicious baby snakes,

it’ll settle for small mammals.

Number 9. Eastern Hognose Snake

It may not be the prettiest of serpents, but the eastern hognose is certainly an odd-looking

snake. Also known as the spreading adder, eastern hog-nosed snake, or deaf adder, this

blunt-faced reptile is only found in North America. Since the eastern hognose isn’t harmful

to people – only unlucky amphibians – it’s often considered non-venomous. These snakes

grow up to an average of 28 inches long and come in a wide variety of colors and patterns.

Green, red, orange, grey, black, brown, or any combination of these – you name it and

there’s surely a hognose out there sporting that unusual hue. Their patterns also vary

from blotchy to checkered and sometimes no pattern at all, and their underbellies tend

to be yellow, grey, or off-white. But, the feature that doesn’t change from snake to

snake is its small upturned snout, which is used to dig in loose soil.

Number 8. Spiny Bush Viper

Now, this sharp-looking snake is one that’s sure to grab your attention. It’s endemic

to Central Africa and is also called the rough-scaled bush viper and hairy bush viper. These slithering

bad boys grow up to 29 inches long. They have short snouts, and although their Disney-like

eyes make them look almost inviting, they’re recognized for something else: their scales.

Their large, exceptionally keeled dorsal scales make these vipers look spiky and threatening.

Some people compare them to bristles. Either way, the spiny bush viper looks like something

you don’t want to mess with, so listen to your instincts if you come face-to-face with

one. Their venom is mostly made of neurotoxins and can be lethal to people who don’t quickly

seek medical attention.

Number 7. Flying Snake

Just by hearing the name of this snake, you can guess what makes it so unique. It’s not

often that you see a snake soaring through the air – unless it’s on a plane. Get it?

These reptiles are also called gliding snakes, and they live in Southeast Asia, southern

China, Sri Lanka, and India. Flying snakes can climb up trees by pushing against the

bark using the ridge-like scales on their bellies. Once the snake comes to the tip of

a branch and its tail hangs off the end, it’s ready to take a leap of faith. Rearing back

into a “J” shape and then leaning forward to determine the angle of its jump, the flying

snake plunges from the branch, forcing itself up and away. It then sucks in its abdominal

area and flares its ribs, making it more wing-like. While gliding through the sky, the flying

snake moves as it would on the ground to help it land properly.

Number 6. Sea Snake

They’re on the ground, in the air, and in the sea! No matter where you are, there’s

no escaping all of the world’s weird squirming reptiles. This subfamily of serpents is found

throughout the warm waters of the Pacific and Indian oceans, usually near the coast.

Most species of sea snakes grow up to about 5 feet long, but the largest of its kind is

the yellow sea snake, which can reach almost 10 feet. Although many of these serpents have

interesting colors, one of the most unique-looking is the yellow-lipped sea krait. Its head is

black, snout and upper lip are yellow, and its body is usually blueish grey. Bold, black

rings horizontally pattern the snake from head to tail, but they halt at the snake’s

belly, which is yellow. Like many vibrant creatures, these snakes are highly venomous

but don’t strike at people unless they feel threatened.

Number 5. Horned Viper

These dangerous-looking snakes grow to a max of 33 inches long and are easily discernible

by their horn-like protrusions set above each eye. They range from yellowish, pinkish, or

pale brown or grey, generally matching the substrate of their environment. Since they

live in North African deserts and the Middle East, horned vipers look fairly rough and

sandy. They travel across the soil or sand by sidewinding, a movement unique to snakes

that need to get from place to place through slippery or loose substrates. Horned vipers

don’t strike for no reason, only doing so if they feel threatened. They do, however,

hide in the sand and await their prey, striking quickly when the unlucky critter approaches.

These devilish snakes are venomous too. Being bitten can cause nausea, vomiting, swelling,

hemorrhaging, and necrosis.

Number 4. Elephant Trunk Snake

If this list was about the world’s prettiest snakes, then the elephant trunk wouldn’t make

the list. They look very similar to the animal’s snout they’re named after. Their heads are

wide and flat, and their nostrils are located on top of their snouts. With heads only as

wide as their bodies and baggy dull-brown skin, elephant trunk snakes aren’t exactly

a sight for sore eyes. They grow up to 94 inches long and are sometimes kept as pets

since they aren’t venomous. These snakes are aquatic, living in lagoons, rivers, and estuaries.

Elephant trunk snakes are also nocturnal and feed mostly on amphibians and fish, lying

patiently in wait before ambushing their prey. They seldom go on land and can stay underwater

for up to 40 minutes at a time.

Number 3. Tentacled Snake

These peculiar creatures are native to Southeast Asia and are easily characterized by the so-called

“tentacles” that don the front of their heads. They reach 35 inches in length and vary slightly

in color and pattern including blotched, striped, tan, brown, and grey. You’ll probably never

see a tentacled snake in the wild since they live their entire lives in murky waters – not

that humans have anything to worry about. These serpents possess venomous fangs, but

they’re located far back in their mouths. Plus, tentacled snakes feed on fish.

Number 2. Brahminy Blind Snake

If you look at this snake and think “earthworm,” you’re not the first one. The brahminy blind

snake reaches a maximum length of just 4 inches, making it the world’s smallest known species

of snake. They live their lives burrowing underground, making them even more wormlike.

What sets them apart from earthworms and makes them recognizable as snakes are their little

scales and itty-bitty eyes. Brahminy blind snakes are native to Africa, Maritime Southeast

Asia, and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. They take up residency in termite and ant nests,

dry jungles, wet forests, city gardens, and underneath leaves, logs, and stones. Since

they’re nonvenomous and feed on the pupae, eggs, and larvae of termites and ants, there’s

nothing to worry about regarding these minuscule serpents.

Number 1. Malagasy Leaf-Nosed Snake

Perhaps the weirdest looking snake of all is the Malagasy – or Madagascar – leaf-nosed

snake. It only lives in Madagascar and grows to about 3 feet long. The males of the species

have long, tapered snouts, while the females’ snouts are flattened and leaf-like. Besides

camouflaging the snakes in foliage, the use of their unique snouts is unknown. Malagasy

leaf-nosed snakes don’t prove much of a threat to humans and primarily hunt by sitting and

waiting for their prey to come close. Although bites from these serpents are severely painful,

they aren’t lethal.

Which of these snakes do you think is the weirdest and why? Are there any other strange

snakes you’d add to the list? Let us know in the comments below

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