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Are Snakes Invertebrates? Surprising Facts You May Not Know

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Animals can be classified into vertebrates and invertebrates. Vertebrates are the animals with backbones and invertebrates are the animals without backbones.

Vertebrates are more intelligent than invertebrates. They are more complex animals with larger brains and greater cognitive capabilities.

Vertebrates can be cold-blooded or warm-blooded. Only three percent of known animals are vertebrates. The majority of the animals are invertebrates. Sea urchins, spiders, insects, worms, earthworms, and sponges are invertebrate animals. Around 96 percent of all known animals on earth are invertebrates. The largest known invertebrate is the colossal squid. The smallest known invertebrates include rotifer. They are too small that we can see them with our human eyes.

Snake is an organism with vertebrae. Snakes belong to the family of vertebrates. They have hundreds of bones. Snakes are very flexible organisms and their backbone is made up of many vertebrae that are attached to ribs. As a matter of fact, snakes have between 200- 400 vertebrae with as many ribs attached. They can flip and twist more than human beings. Their backbones, ribs, and vertebrae help them to move as per their wish. Many ribs are attached to their vertebra. Are snakes invertebrates? No, snakes are vertebrates. Their backbone provides them many benefits like protection of their internal organs, support to their body, and mobility. The ribs of snakes also help to digest their food. The bones at the tail of the snake's body provide them extra flexibility in its tail. Snakes often use their tail as a tool that helps them in grabbing their prey.

After understanding all about different species of snakes and are they vertebrate reptiles or invertebrate reptiles, do check that are snakes cold-blooded and are snakes nocturnal?

What is a vertebrate?

Animals are living organisms that are found almost all around the environment. They are divided into vertebrates and non-vertebrates.

Vertebrates are animals with backbones. Examples of vertebrates are fish, birds, amphibians, fish species, reptiles, and mammals. When we break down this category further, we can see that vertebrates belong to the phylum ‘Chordata’ and of the subphylum ‘vertebrata’.

The first vertebrates possess only a notochord and not a vertebral column. Around 45,000 species on earth are vertebrates.  Their body consists of a head with a brain and sense organs. The body of vertebrates has tails and trunk regions. Vertebrates can live underground, on the surface, and in the air. They make their habitat in all these places. They eat plants and invertebrates. Bones give a definite shape to the skeleton of vertebrates. The vertebrates are divided into the cyclostomes, the Chondrichthyes, the teleostomi, and the tetrapods. The cyclostomes are jawless fishes. The Chondrichthyes are cartilaginous fishes and the teleostomi are bony fishes.

What is an invertebrate?

Invertebrates are animals that lack a backbone. Around 90 percent of the total animal species are invertebrates. Examples of invertebrates are sea stars, sea urchins, earthworms, spiders, jellyfish, crabs, insects.

Invertebrates are considered primitive because they lack organs that are developed. To pump their blood they use an open circulatory system. Invertebrates are related to human beings in many ways. They act as agricultural pests and parasites. They also act as the agents for the transfer of parasitic infections to human beings and vertebrates. They are food for human beings. They play an important role in the food chain and plant pollination. Invertebrates have soft bodies that lack a rigid internal skeleton. But they had a hard outer skeleton which helps to protect their body.

Many vertebrates present in the back of a snake help in creating a high level of flexibility.

How to know if a snake is a vertebrate or an invertebrate?

Are snakes invertebrates or vertebrates, is a doubt for the majority of the people. Snakes are vertebrates. Snake has an inner skeleton. Snakes have bones. Their bodies get strength and structure because of the bones.  Muscles help us to move and they are attached to bones. Snakes are animals that possess a good number of bones. These bones help them to be strong and flexible. The body of a snake is made up of any vertebrae. The greatest specialty of snakes is their long spine which is made with lots of vertebrae. Snakes have bones and around 400 vertebrae with as many ribs attached to them.

Snakes also have a good number of ribs that cover their whole body in order to protect their organs. There are various methods by which snakes hunt their prey. Some snakes catch and kill their prey by means of constriction. They tighten their strong muscular body around their prey and squeeze the victim to death with the help of their bones. Some other snakes hunt their prey using their venom. Snakes belong to the phylum of ‘chordata’ and the sub-phylum of ‘vertebrata’. They belong to the class ‘reptilia’ of the animal kingdom. The central support system of a snake's body is its spine. The backbone links the different parts of their skeleton to one another. The elastic ligaments and spinal disks made their spinal cord flexible. Snakes are reptiles who crawl; they have no legs. They completely depend on their muscles, scales, and backbone for their movement.  They are free to move in their search for food. The body of the snake is made up of many vertebrae.

Snakes have approximately 100 - 450 vertebrae in their body and they have approximately 10 - 205 vertebrae in the tail. Each vertebra is connected with a pair of ribs. Snake ribs are hundreds in number. This makes their body flexible. The scales present in the snake’s body are made up of a material called ‘keratin’. Keratin helps snakes to move on different surfaces. Unlike snakes, humans possess only 33 vertebrae and 24 ribs. The entire skeletal structure is made up of spines and ribs.  This great number of snake vertebrae are flexible and strong. All the snakes living on this earth have bones. Snakes have had backbones throughout their history. According to studies some snakes even had legs and arms but evolution made limbs disappear but they do have lungs, kidneys, and intestines. Snakes prefer to live underground beneath decaying soil and organic substrates.

What purpose does a snake’s backbone serve?

Snakes have different benefits with their backbones. Backbones help them to protect themselves. It gives them mobility. As mentioned earlier, the snake's vertebrae and ribs are strongly linked to their strong muscles. Hundreds of ribs are attached to a snake's vertebrates.

These bones and muscles together protect their internal organs. The internal organs of snakes consist of a long throat and a longer stomach. This vertebrate species also have two lungs, kidneys, liver, and intestines. Snakes have these lengthy organs. So they need many ribs to keep them safe inside.

Snakes have their own unique way of movement. The bones that are present in the snake's back help them to move around in their own unique style. Each individual vertebrae present in the snake's backbone has the capability to move a full 360 degrees around.

When we see a snake, we never feel that this vertebrate species will have bones. Because their vertebrae are connected to each other by sockets. These sockets permit snakes to turn and move at many angles on every part of their lengthy body. Snakes often move in a careful and slow manner as they shift only one vertebra at a time. Throughout its movement, the snake pushes itself forward and the scales present in its belly grip onto the surface in which it crawls. Thus they can move on any surface. If the snake wants to move fast, it can move many of its backbones at a time which leads to a bigger push forward. Thus they form an S- shape on the ground. Snakes feed on a wide range of small mammals for their diet.

The backbone of snakes is made up of a flexible material that helps them to move. The prominent function of a snake's backbone is to support its body. Snakes use their backbone mainly for movement and sometimes for mating behaviors. The backbone of snakes helps them for respiration. It supports the lung of the snake and prevents its damage. Respiration is the process of inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide. The snake’s ribs are covered in a cage-like structure which provides them a strong skeletal structure. That provides them protection and helps them for movement. The bones and ribs of snakes help them to slither through minute gaps. Snakes have no separate legs or arms.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for are snakes invertebrates then why not take a look at are snakes deaf, or cobra facts.

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