Records like the snake skeleton found in the Sahara Desert reveals that snakes have inhabited this planet for millions of years now. Unfortunately their skeletons are fragile because of which there isn’t much information about how they developed over the years. Despite this, it is said that they probably appeared during the time of dinosaurs.
Acrochordidae (File Snakes)
Also known as wart snakes, file snakes live in the rivers and coastal waters of the south Pacific islands, northern Australia and southern Asia. Three species of snakes make up this family. File snakes grow up to 8 feet tall and have a stout body and wrinkled skin. This family of snakes is widely hunted for its leatherlike skin.
Aniliidae (The Pipe Snake)
This snake lives in South America and is the only specie that makes up this family. The Pipe snake is a burrowing snake that possesses a stout body and grows to less than 90 cm long.
Atractaspididae (Burrowing Asps)
Also known as stiletto snakes, burrowing asps are a family of 55 species that are found in the Middle East as well as Africa. These snakes are venomous and live underground. They live on either reptiles or burrowing animals.
About 70 species of snakes can be found in this family and include the boa species and the python. Of course smaller species of snakes such as the royal python snake and the ball python are also a part of this family! Most boids live in subtropical and tropical regions and have external vestiges of hind legs. All the snakes that belong to this family are non-venomous but are powerful constrictors that depend on strength rather than their venom to get rid of their prey!
About 1,800 species of snakes are a part of this family which makes up about two-thirds of the species of snakes in the world. Colubrids live on trees, land, in water or under the ground and have species that differ in appearance as well as way of life. Most of the harmless snakes like the North American garter snakes and the rat snakes belong to this family. Venomous snakes and rear-fanged snakes are also included here. Of course it is important to note that only a few rear-fanged snakes, for e.g. the African bird snakes and boomslangs pose a threat to humans.
Over 250 species of venomous snakes can be found in this family. The Australian black snake, taipan, tiger snake as well as the death adder all belong to this family and can be found abundantly in Australia. Other examples of Elapids are the cobras, mambas and sea snakes. All species of Elapids possess short, non-movable front fangs.
Loxocemidae (The Mexican Burrowing Snake)
This snake is the only species that makes up this family. The Mexican Burrowing snake has a white belly and brown coloring. This snake lives on lizard eggs and turtle apart from reptiles and small mammals. It can be found in Central America and Mexico.
Pythons are a species of large snakes from Asia, Africa and Australia. Pythons can be found in rain forests to dry scrub. Most of the species that belong to this family live on the ground, though there are a few that also live in water or trees. Warm blooded animals constitute the diet of the python.
Typhlopidae (Blind Snakes)
Snakes that belong to the Typhlopidae family live in subtropical and tropical regions and burrow underground. Resembling earthworms to a certain degree, some blind snakes may grow to almost 3 feet long. They have eyes covered by the head scales.
Uropeltidae (Shield-tailed snakes)
The Uropeltidae family of snakes is made up of about 45 species of burrowing snakes. These type of snakes possess a wedge-shaped snout, a short blunt tail and scales that are smooth. Shield-tailed snakes can be found in southern India and Sri Lanka.
Snakes that belong to the Viperidae family possess long fangs attached to the front part of the upper jaw. The rotating movement of this jaw enables a viper to move its fangs forwards and backwards. Pit vipers and True vipers are the two groups that vipers are divided into. About 100 species make up the family of pit vipers. These vipers are so named because of the pit organs between their nostrils and eyes. Pit vipers include North American rattlesnakes, copperheads and water moccasins. True Vipers are made up of about 50 species that live in Asia, Europe and Africa. Some examples of true vipers are the Gaboon viper and the European viper.
Xenopeltidae (Sunbeam Snakes)
As the name suggests, sunbeam snakes are blessed with highly polished scales that shine in the sunlight. This family consists of only one specie that live in southeastern Asia. Sunbeam snakes usually spend the day under stones or logs or in burrows. It is when the night takes over that they move about.