JUN 18, 2016 09:23 AM PDT

This Sidewinder Snake Slithers at 18 MPH

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The sidewinder snake is well adapted for its harsh desert habitat. With its unique movement, it can travel up to 18 miles per hour across the shifting sand dunes. It does so by anchoring its head and tail to the ground and thrusting its body forward. The movement creates grip, much like a foot.

Sidewinding is also a heat-coping mechanism in the scorching desert where these animals live. By reducing the body's contact with the sand, the snake can keep its body temperature regulated.

Sidewinders will use their camouflaged skin to bury themselves in the sand and wait for their prey to come close. When they do, the snake will quickly strike and its potent venom will do the rest of the work.

Source: Smithsonian
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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