Snake Lesson for Kids: Facts & Life Cycle

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

There are many different kinds of snakes in the world, but not all of them are venomous. This lesson will teach you about snakes, where they live, their life cycle and some other cool facts about these slithering reptiles.

Snake Life

Imagine being a field mouse. You scurry around in the dark, looking for a snack. But before you know it, you are being swallowed whole! You've just become a snake snack!

Snakes are scaly reptiles with long, skinny bodies and no arms or legs. There are many different kinds of snakes, but they all have things in common.

All snakes are carnivores, or meat eaters. Depending on the size and kind of snake, and where they live, snakes enjoy rats, birds, eggs, chipmunks, other snakes, deer, and pigs, swallowing them whole.

Snake eating a mouse
Snake eating a mouse

Snakes don't have the right kind of teeth to chew like you do, but they can open their mouth much wider than you can, and they have teeth that point backwards, holding prey in so their dinner can't make a run for it.

Where do Snakes Live?

Because snakes are reptiles, they are cold-blooded, which means they can't make their own body heat the way you do. Instead, many of them live in warmer areas. Snakes are found all over the world, except in Antarctica, New Zealand, Greenland, Iceland and Ireland.

Different kinds of snakes slither around in places like forests, deserts, prairies and even in the water.

Venomous and Non-Venomous Snakes

There are about 2,700 different kinds of snakes on Earth, but only 375 kinds are venomous. In the United States, those venomous snakes include rattlesnakes, copperheads, coral snakes and cottonmouths, also called water moccasins.

Venomous snakes have fangs that are hollow like straws and sharp like needles. When they bite, venomous snakes can shoot that poisonous liquid into their victim through their fangs.

Venomous snake with fangs
Venomous snake with fangs

Non-venomous snakes don't have venom or fangs, but they still have rows of very sharp teeth on the top and bottom of their mouth and should be left alone.

Snake Life Cycle

Male and female snakes start the life cycle when they mate, so that new, young snakes can be born.

Female snakes then have baby snakes, called snakelets or hatchlings, in one of three ways, depending on the kind of snake:

  • The female snake lays rubbery eggs with snakelets inside that hatch when they are big enough.
  • The female snake holds the eggs inside her body until the snakelets hatch and come out.
  • The female snake gives birth to live snakelets.

Snake eggs
Snake eggs

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