See also: Snake (homonymy)
The snakes (sub-order of the Curve ) are Reptiles with the body cylindrical and lengthened, deprived apparent members. They share this last characteristic with a group of Vertébrés tétrapodes: the gymnophione S, which belong to the group of the lissamphibien S.
One gathers under the name of snakes or ophidien S all the Reptiles deprived of legs; their body, covered with fine scales and plates corneas, is of cylindrical and lengthened form. Their eyes have welded and transparent eyelids which confer a fixed glance to them. There exist snakes of all sizes and all colors. They all are zoophages; the majority are oviparous animals but some are ovoviviparous, especially in cold areas: ovoviviparity is probably an adaptation necessary where the summer period is short. Thus the female can better regulate the temperature of development of small than if it laid simply its eggs in the ground. In moderated area, the females lay their eggs at the end of the summer, and are sometimes unable to nourish themselves sufficiently before the hibernation. The jaws strong can désarticuler in such way that the animal can absorb preys bulkier than him. The hooks can contain glands with Venin according to the species, being able to return the bite mortal.
The teeth of the snakesAccording to the type of teeth that they have one can distinguish four categories of snakes:
- Aglyphe S: snakes which do not have hooks with venom. They inoffensive for the man, except for are in general boïdés, the snakes constrictors.
- Opistoglyphe S (ex: the Grass snake of Montpellier of the South of France): snakes having in the posterior part of the jawbone one or more hooks with venom; the animal can inject its venom only if its victim is already partially swallowed. In theory, the risk of envenimation is weak for the man, except for the large snakes.
- Protéroglyphe S (ex: Cobra S): snakes presenting two small fixed hooks, connected to poison gland, in front of the jawbone. This hook is always in the same position, whether the mouth is opened or closed (in opposition to Solénoglyphes).
- Solénoglyphe S (ex: Vipers): snakes presenting two long mobile hooks, connected to poison gland, in front of the jawbone. This hook is folded up when the mouth is closed, marrying the shape of the palate (in opposition to Protéroglyphes). When the snake opens the mouth to bite its hooks are rectified. In the last both cases the snake envenime its prey before introducing it; in all the cases venom is expelled of the glands (which are sometimes very bulky compared to the animal) by the contraction of the muscles mandibulaires supply mains. It is also a muscular action which involves at the time of the bite the rectification of the horizontal hooks at rest.
SystematicIn the phylogenetic Classification which replaces traditional classification today, the term of reptile became obsolete. According to phylogenetic classification, the snakes belong to the group of the Squamates .
However, in fact well the herpetologists study the snakes.
Plusieurs species is poisonous.
N.B.: the systematic one of the reptiles and squamates being in full change, classifications suggested can differ according to the sources and the moments.
The snakes are divided into two infra-orders:
- Boidae (Boa S)
- Elaphe of which:
- the Grass snake at levels
- the Grass snake of Esculape
- : whose representative is for example, the Couleuvre with collar
Place des snakes in the animal world
The terrestrial snakes, sailors or move by snaking, i.e. they use the whole of their body to be driven. The snakes whose body is important (as in the rattlesnakes) can also move in straight line by alternating a movement before skin and an anchoring of the scales of the belly which is directed towards the posterior end, followed by a movement forwards internal part of the body. In more exiguous places, certain species use movements of accordion or telescopic: the snake anchors its posterior end by some horizontal curves, extends its body then anchors its former end again and draws the part postpones forwards. The most specialized form of snaking is the bearing or side zigzag which is usable only on soft and hot substrates such as sand in the desert. The animal bends its body in S, to touch sand only in two places, then it makes " gradually; glisser" these two contact points along its body, backwards, while advancing forwards: displacement is then side compared to the axis of the body. The speed of the snakes is in general around a maximum of 6 km/h, the mambas constituting a notable exception (although testimonys diverge, it was attested that these snakes reach 12 km/h and alleged in a way less verifiable than some of them were timed to 20 to see 30 km/h).
The belt scapular is always absent from skeleton of the snakes, if not at some ophidiens primitive such as the Boïdés which present vestiges of pelvic Ceinture (which can be used as exiting body during the coupling). The spinal column consists of a great number of vertebrae (160 to 400) articulated very well the ones compared to the others; the undulation of the body are thus possible thanks to this structure on the one hand and on the other hand thanks to the existence of side muscles which have the effect of having their opposed apophysaires insertions extremely distant from/to each other (to 30 vertebrae of variation). The mouth can distend with the passage of the preys which they capture. This large oral opening is made possible because on the one hand the square is a lengthened rod which articulates neurocrâne very behind; in addition the rotation of the square around its articulation very clearly moves away the mandible of the upper jaw. In addition a powerful muscle (the " depressor mandibulae") tended between the temporal area and the posterior end of the mandible contributes to lower the latter even ventralement. So the snakes are able to swallow enormous preys: in the stomach of a Python of five meters one found a Léopard (choked beforehand). In addition, the salivary glands secrete enough saliva to facilitate the ingestion of the preys by lubricating them. The Estomac produces an extremely acid juice able to dissolve even the teeth. Notice that in lower part of 10°C, the digestive process cannot function effectively and the snake owes régurgiter its prey; the ideal temperature for digestion is of 30°C. This is why the snake seeks to reach this temperature, while heating itself by the sun for example when it has been just nourished. The snakes can swallow a great quantity of food in only once and are able to fast during many days following that. A réticulé Python survived during 2 years ½ without feeding. It very frequently arrives that the snake fasts in captivity. It was noted that the snakes do not feed for the period which precedes the moult, but the young snakes need to more often nourish themselves.
The snakes all are zoophages (carnivorous). The snakes use, in a general way, two types of hunting: either they practice the ambush, or they maraudent. The snake approaches its prey slowly once it located it then it stops at a certain distance. The head of the snake plays a big role at the time of the attack: it projects it ahead at the time to seize the prey while opening the Mâchoire S and striking thus its prey very violently. The arboricolous species (as certain boas) have a different approach: they are let hang with a branch and are let choir on their preys.
The snakes proceed in four different ways according to the races in order to give the death-blow: The constrictors choke their prey, the majority of the species inoculate a neurotoxic venom, the snakes minutes introduce their prey directly. A majority of grass snake S have a toxic saliva and use also constriction. The setting with died by constriction is most primitive. Boa S, python S and certain grass snakes maintains their victim in their jaws and rolls up their body around it of compressing it in order to choke it. Some Cobra S African, such as " Naja nigricollis" and " Naja mossambica" , as certain Asian cobras are spitting cobras, i.e. than they can project their venom with several meters thanks to a specialization of the hooks with venom.
In a general way, the snakes have a very bad Vue: the field of vision of an animal moving with the short-nap cloth of the ground being in addition limited, certain snakes draw up themselves on their body when they drive out; they are located in their medium by feeling the odors and the displacements air volume thanks to their language bifide. The oral cavity of Squamates shelters a particular even sensor: the chimio-sensitive body of Jacobson. The ends of the language bifide penetrate in each of the two cavities of the body of Jacobson placed in the palate. Boïdés and some vipéridés (crotalidaes), them, have a thermal image of the prey. They are sensitive to radiations Infrarouge S and can perceive the most negligible changes of temperature.
It is not rare that the appearance of a snake merges very well with the vegetation.
The symbolic system of the snake is one of deepest and complex. It is hardly of cultures and mythologies which do not have their Large Snake, almost always marine and ambiguous, if not ambivalent. Snakes and dragon S, amphisbene S, basil S, guivre S, hydre S, dream S, the monsters ophidiens are present in many forms in almost all the folklores, either which they are associated with Beautiful of which they have the guard, or that is the Hero whom they initiate like Fàfnir and Sigurdr, or Jason and Médée with the very famous guard of the Golden Fleece. The " Large Serpent" , Trimégiste, cosmogonic or cosmic does not cease haunting our imaginary commun run since Ras Shamra with the Loch Born; it crystallizes our fears, our anguishes, our imaginations, our desires, our hopes. It will be noticed besides that the serpentine figure is often present in the " hallucinations" chamanic or not caused by psychotropic plants.
When it bites the tail, as in some of its representations, for example l'" Ouroboros" , it is the symbol of the infinite cycle of the life and death. It is found not only in ancient Greece but also in many civilizations under another name; thus, the snake which encloses, to some extent, whole creation between its rings, surrounds and includes/understands all that is, emblem of any perfection. It is also Midgardsormr, the Large Snake of the Nordique mythology which lives in the " Large Mer" paramount which surrounds the world of the medium (Midgard, from where its name), ground of the men in the center of which the ground of the gods is, Asgard. Beyond the Sea and protective rings of Midgardsormr is Utgard where are the bad and destroying powers, the Giants and the Forces of Chaos; into corrosive its tail it ensures the human world its cohesion and its solidity. In the center of this designed world as a gigantic spindle finds the axis of the world, Yggdrasil, the large Crowned Tree who perhaps the Large Snake itself because it is sometimes called Jörmungandr (giant Magic wand/) as Midgardsormr whose function is the same one: to ensure the cohesion of the Universe, without him it is the Ragnarök. The Scandinavian myth thus needs a hero to counter this fear of the total destruction: Thorr, which once tries to fish Midgardsormr without reaching that point since prevented by a pilot giant of the combat; the duel between the Large Snake and the god of the thunder will finish with the death of both at the time of the Ragnarök. One finds this idea in the Mahâbhârata which assimilates the Large Snake under the name of " Pinâka" with the arc of " Siva" , the Large Snake - rainbow rolled up with the cord which is used to tighten the arc. This image is heavy of significance because the Arc-en-ciel is always perceived like a bridge between the sky and the ground. Finally coiled on itself it evokes the eternal restarting or the infinite spiral, even the double ellipse of the desoxyribonucleic Acid , commune with all the living beings, which makes them at the same time so various and so similar! As him it snake associates the opposites, reconciles antagonisms which afflict our understanding. It is necessary to acknowledge which this animal deprived members has something of worrying for the bipeds which we are, him which does not fear any predator if not the man and the mongoose, thanks to its so dangerous poison! And certainly also that its eminently phallic form made us as well as grow it towards the phantasm of Totality towards the supreme incarnation of the Defect. After all, in the symbolic system Judeo-Christian, the snake represents the Evil, temptation. In the Genesis, the Satan takes the shape of a snake to encourage Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. In its Apocalypse Saint Jean represents Satan, the Diable, like the old Snake, the seducer of the nations. One also finds it like marine dragon, Rahab (in " Job" , 16 - 12) or the legendary snake Léviathan (" Isaïe" , 27 - 1). It is against him that JHVH starts a memorable combat (" Exode" , 34 - 22) and inaugurates the beginning of times thus. The Léviathan is also present in the mythological poems phenicians of Short-nap cloth-Shamra (1300 before our era). Because he is at least potential enemy of the savage son of Odin, the Snake ended up being associated with the creatures with the Evil, he became the son of Loki, god of the disorder and the trick.
In the Bible, the snake is the symbol of Jesus Christ, in her capacity as Sauveur: And as Moïse raised the snake in the desert, it is necessary just as the Son of man is raised, Jean 3:14.
The snake cannot be looked opposite, as the Sun of which it seems the antagonist because the snake which has the welded eyelids cille not nor never seems to sleep. Opposed to the " Fire Primal" , it is however strongly associated with the Earth because of its mode of displacement. Since chthonien and rival of the primal light, it is thus associated with the world of deaths, it is lunar; certainly also because its body curiously cold seems to do without the heat of the life. Since he knows the secrecies of the after-life and that he is a figure of patience, he becomes symbol of any wisdom and gnosis; he is often the hiérophante of the lost hero (like Sigurdr still like Marduk). He has a knowledge worrying and mysterious, essential and vital, able to reveal the future and the past. He is also associated with Water because its scales bring it closer to fish (if not that as all the reptiles they are welded contrary to fish) and by its snaking which makes it be driven like a moving wave. He is the being which is played of the topics categories, similar of body and mode that he lives in water or on ground; nothing astonishing whereas several myths equipped it with wings. The Large Snake carrying knowledge, evokes another carrier of light: the Lucifer préchrétien which also was represented him by a winged snake. One finds also the winged snake in the well-known Amerindian figure of Quezacoalt (for the former Mexicans, Kukulcan for the Mayas, Gucumatz for the Quichés), the peaceful god and educational god as in old Egypt where one finds it painted on the Sarcophage S, engraved on Monolithe S and in the stones of the Pyramide S and the Temple S. the Amerindian tradition allots to Quezacoalt the invention of weaving, ceramics and the zero, i.e. of the Mathématiques, associated with the precision which one knows, with Astronomy.
The snake is also the animal which regenerates itself since the come season it moults, it changes skin: it makes new skin. Here well certainly one of our older aspirations chimerical: eternal youth, Rene, renovated or rather never dead since he is well the friendly close relation of Death, him it great secrecy of the Alchimiste S for which the Philosopher's stone is placed in its oblong head. He often seems to be opposed to a god, to God, with the eagle, symbol of Olympian Zeus which faces Typhon, the Satan which is opposed to biblical God, Marduk and Tiamat, Thorr fishing Midgardsorm (terrified and temporarily paralyzed by its glance), Thraetona and Azi Dahaka in Iran, Apollon and Python, Héraclès and the Hydre de Lerne, Saint Georges and the Dragon… All the traditions have titanic reptiles and wheels which mix the physical power with the intelligence, while others oppose through the snake and of the saving hero, the domination of the spirit on the body, or the domination of the man on nature, or its wild nature. All the idea of morals, through the idea of of course the evil, is held in this opposition or not of the man with nature and according to whether it is had a presentiment of by the populations.
The passage in this cultural tradition causes a “ deification ” nature (anti-paganism) towards the sacralization of the divine word, of universal Father-Spirit-God, whose Tables of the Law are the incarnation first. This passage of a divine nature to a nature to be dominated (Noah going down from the arch) and is found completely today, although nature is not known as much any more like a being malfaisant to dominate.
In the Buddhism Tibetan, the snake represents the aversion, one of the three poisons of the spirit.
Among old Greeks, the snake python is the host of the temple of Delphes from where Socrate will draw its currency, “ know -même ”, this one being written with the pediment of this temple. It represents here the symbol even philosophical wisdom, the capacity of knowledge and knowledge. The snake is also one of the attributes of the god of the doctors Esculape. At the Hindu S, the snake Kundalinî is the central channel of energy which connects the 7 together Chakra S in a double ellipse which is not without evoking again the chain of DNA. The Caducée could also make him think of the molecule of DNA. Toujours the Snake plunges without fear in our older visceral anguishes, towards the unknown to the man at night and sea-bed the death.
- Snake charmer
- Herpétologie, more on the study of the snakes.
- Snake in ancient Egypt
- List of the principal snakes
- List of films of horror with reptiles
- the sub-order of the snakes on reptile-database.org
- See a detailed diagram of the morphology of a poisonous snake
- 100% reptile
Simple: Snake Zh-min-nan: Choâ
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