The Ultimate Snake Trivia Quiz

By: Jacqueline Samaroo
Estimated Completion Time
3 min
The Ultimate Snake Trivia Quiz
Image: Mahbub Khan/Moment/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Ready for some sidewinding fun? Here is a chance to prove how much you know about some of the most feared creatures on Earth!

Fangs, a forked tongue and perhaps the ominous sound of a rattle are some of the chilling traits we think about when we hear the word "snake." Venomous or not, however, most snakes aren't a threat to humans - but that does not stop many persons from having a genuine fear of them. By the way, do you know what that particular phobia is called? We are pretty sure it's not what you are thinking!

Some snakes are so small they could easily pass for earthworms. They are not the ones which tend to come to mind, however, whenever we think about slinking, slithering, scaly creatures. Thanks to a host of horror shows dedicated to them, the big snakes are the ones which are quite familiar to most of us. Saying which is the fastest, longest or heaviest, however, might be a bit of a challenge. Do you know which snakes fit the bill in each case? Slide on into the quiz and see if you are right!

You don't have to be cold-blooded to slither your way to victory in this quiz - but being really into ophiology might help! Let's see how you do - time to start the quiz!

During which geological time period did the earliest snakes appear?
Quaternary
Jurassic
Sometime during the late Jurassic period, the earliest forms of snakes evolved from lizards. It wasn’t until roughly 80 million years later, during the Paleocene period, however, that modern snakes appeared. This is the time period that fossils of the Titanoboa, a genus of snakes that regularly reached lengths of over 40 feet are dated to.
Rhyacian
Cambrian

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Which of these continents are snakes NOT found on?
North America
Antarctica
Considering the fact that there are very few terrestrial vertebrates living in Antarctica, it’s not surprising that snakes don’t make the cut! Snakes are found on every other continent, as well as on many islands. Sea snakes, which spend most or all of their time in water, can also be found in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
Africa
Europe

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Since snakes don’t have ears, which body part helps them to “hear”?
tail
tongue
skin
jawbone
The question of, "How can snakes hear?” has for a long time been a baffling one since the reptiles have neither external ears nor internal eardrums. In fact, many believed they could not hear at all, but according to recent research, a snake’s jawbone can pick up vibrations (a prey’s footsteps, for example) through the ground. These vibrations are sent to the inner ear and then transmitted to the brain.

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Which sensing method helps some snakes to “see” warm objects?
x-ray vision
machine vision
infrared vision
Pythons, pit vipers and some species of boas have grooves on their snout known as pit organs. These organs help them to sense the radiant heat of nearby prey or predators up to a meter away!
pinhole vision

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Which of these organs is NOT found in snakes?
heart
diaphragm
Because they lack a diaphragm, snakes’ hearts can move around! This is helpful in making sure the heart doesn’t get damaged when large prey which the snake has swallowed is moving through the esophagus.
eyes
stomach

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What are a snake’s scales made of?
glass
cellulose
iron
keratin
Keratin is the same substance found in human nails, as well as hair, wool, horns and claws of some other mammals. The keratin in snakes’ scales are of a harder variety, however, and is also found in reptile shells and bird beaks.

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How long does it take for a snake to completely shed its skin?
five hours
one to two weeks
Shedding (a.k.a. molting) in snakes typically takes a week or two. Snake scales don’t shed one by one, but as a whole outer layer. Scales serve many purposes in snakes, from helping them to move to camouflage and moisture retention.
one month
six months

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What do a snake’s abdominal scales help it to do?
move
The scales found on a snake’s belly are known as ventral scales and aid in locomotion. They are longer than the scales on the rest of the snake’s body and are usually oblong in shape. Some tree-dwelling snakes can also use these scales to get a good grip on branches!
squint
hiss
bite

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Which adjective describes the s-shaped slithering motion of snakes?
fluttering
serpentine
The scientific name for this kind of motion is lateral undulation. Most terrestrial movement of snakes is by lateral undulation, and it’s the only way snakes move underwater! The other 4 ways snakes move on land are: concertina, rectilinear, sidewinding and slide-pushing.
lumbering
frisky

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Where can gliders or “flying” snakes be found?
Western Europe
Canada
Istanbul
Southeast Asia
Gliding snakes (a.k.a. flying snakes) are of the genus Chrysopelea and “fly” from branch to branch. These snakes are no amateur flyers; some can glide through the air for hundreds of feet and even have the ability to turn in midair!

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Where is the natural habitat of most anacondas?
In underground caves
In water
The are four species of the anaconda, all of which live in South America and all of which are aquatic, spending most of their time in water. They are also quite large and in fact, the species known as the green anaconda is the heaviest snake in the world. The green anaconda ranks second in terms of length, with only the reticulated python being longer than it.
In a desert
In an attic

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What does a snake use its venom to do?
Paralyze or kill prey
By some estimates, less than 10 percent of all species of snakes are venomous. Among them, the inland or western taipan has the deadliest venom of any snake in the world. The king cobra, however, is the longest venomous snake and the saw-scaled viper is the one whose bite leads to the most deaths in humans.
Keep it warm
Flavor its food
Leave a trail

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Which of these is the longest species of snake?
yellow snake
garter snake
reticulated python
Pythons and anacondas dominate the list of longest, largest and heaviest snakes in the world. The reticulated python, whose natural habitat is in South and Southeast Asia, takes the top spot as the longest snake in the world. It is also ranks third on the list of heaviest snakes.
crossed pit viper

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Which of these is the heaviest species of snake?
corn snake
green anaconda
The green anaconda, which is sometimes called the giant anaconda, is the heaviest snake in the world. It is a non-venomous constrictor which kills its prey by squeezing it to death. The green anaconda is aquatic and so is sometimes referred to by the name"water boa."
Indian cobra
horned rattlesnake

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Which of these is the smallest species of snake?
Barbados threadsnake
The Barbados threadsnake is both a type of blind snake and worm snake. It is the smallest snake in the world, with adult specimens growing to just over 4 inches in length. It is found in the eastern section of the small Caribbean island of Barbados, but is current listed as critically endangered due to loss of its forest habitat.
emerald tree boa
ball python
California kingsnake

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Which of these is the fastest species of snake?
coral snake
ringneck snake
red-tailed boa
black mamba
The black mamba is one of four known species of mamba snakes, all of which are native to the sub-Saharan region of Africa. Among the mambas, the black mamba is the most venomous as well as extremely fast. A black mamba is not typically black in color, getting its name, instead, from the color of the inside of its mouth –dark gray to almost black.

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Which of these sensations is a snake charmer’s snake responding to?
movement
In a snake charming performance, it is the swaying motion of the snake charmer (and not the music he plays) which causes the snake to rise out of it basket. The snake is unaffected by the music, since snakes do not have external ears to hear it.
sound
light
smell

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Which of these body parts are NOT found on snakes?
eyelids
There are many myths and legends concerning snakes around the world. One of these is that snake are omniscient (or all-knowing). This belief comes from the fact that a snake’s eyes are always open since it has no eyelids.
skin
ribcage
belly

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Approximately how many species of snake are currently known?
25
164
3,600
The large number of snake species can be divided in several categories based on their characteristics, such as venomous and non-venomous. Snakes can also be categorized according to where they live, with terrestrial (on the ground), arboreal (in trees), aquatic (in water) and burrowing (in burrows), being the major groups.
1,256,598

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How wide can most snakes open their mouths?
13 degrees
2 degrees
150 degrees
The snake’s ability to open its mouth to as much as 150 degrees allows it to consume food much larger than its head. That food might be eggs swallowed shell and all; prey which has been killed by constriction or by venom; or live prey which is later killed inside the snake by its digestive processes.
360 degrees

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What are snakes that squeeze their prey to death called?
vipers
asps
serpents
constrictors
Several species of snakes kill their prey by constriction – squeezing it so tightly that blood flow is cut off from the prey’s vital organs. Constrictors are usually non-venomous, such as pythons and anacondas, but there are some (mildly) venomous snakes, like the brown tree snake, which also use constriction.

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Which of the following statements is TRUE about snakes?
Some species have arms and legs.
Two-headed snakes exist.
Polycephaly (having more than one, usually two, heads) is not a condition unique to snakes – other animals, including humans, can be polycephalic. Snakes, however, exhibit the condition more than most other animals. Two-headed snakes tend to live longer in captivity than they do in the wild, and it is not uncommon for the two heads to attack each other.
They can count backward.
Snakes produce ink like an octopus.

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Which body part did prehistoric snakes possess?
nipples
feathers
eyebrows
legs
Snakes and lizards share a common ancestry, and it is believed that the earliest snakes had, at least, a pair of hind legs. There is also a (disputed) snake fossil which shows both forelegs and hind legs. Scientists suggest that since the earliest snakes were burrowing animals, they “lost” their unneeded legs through the process of evolution.

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What is the average lifespan of a snake in the wild?
3 – 6 weeks
8 – 12 months
10 – 25 years
Generally speaking, bigger snakes live longer in the wild than smaller snakes do. It is not uncommon for members of the boa family (anacondas and pythons, for example) to live up to 50 years. Medium sized snakes usually have a lifespan of 10 to 25 years and small snakes only live between 5 and 10 years in the wild.
Over 60 years

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Which of these body parts aids a snake’s sense of smell?
tongue
The snake’s nose or nostrils are used for breathing, not smelling. Snakes use their moist, forked tongue to “smell” the scents carried in the air or in water, and on the ground. It is how they detect the presence of predators and prey in their environment.
eyes
fangs
ribcage

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Why do young snakes shed their outer layer of skin regularly?
The outer skin becomes unfashionable.
They have to shed the outer skin in order to lay eggs.
Their bodies grow continuously but their outer skin does not.
Shedding of the skin in young snakes helps to accommodate the body’s rapid growth. As a result, a young snake may shed its skin as many as four times in a single year, whereas an older snake might shed just once annually. Furthermore, snakes do not shed their skins during periods of dormancy.
They need the shed skin to line their nests.

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Which of these methods do snakes use to raise their body temperature?
Rubbing against a tree trunk
Wrapping a large leaf around its body
Basking in the sunlight
Snakes are usually called cold-blooded, ectothermic or poikilothermic. All of these terms refer to the fact that snakes rely on the environment to warm up their bodies and maintain a satisfactory internal temperature and metabolic activities. This is why snakes will spend some time each morning basking in the sunlight.
Submerging its body in water

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Which snake is involved in the majority of fatal snakebites in the US?
southern hognose snake
rattlesnake
It is estimated that between 7,000 and 8,000 snakebites occur each year in the US. Of that large number, only about 5 turn out to be fatal and are mostly the result of bites from rattlesnakes. It is the copperhead snake, however, which accounts for most of the incidents of snakebites.
Madagascan boa
gopher snake

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What is the most venomous snake in the world?
inland taipan
The inland taipan is native to the central-east areas of Australia. It is also called the western taipan or the fierce snake. It grows to about 5.5 feet in length and can inject enough venom in a single bite to kill a human within hours if medical treatment is not administered.
bull snake
yellow anaconda
spotted python

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Which of these is a close relative of the snake?
birds
sheep
mosquitos
lizards
Snakes and lizards are classified together as squamates or scaled reptiles. In fact, snakes are descendants of lizards which through evolution have become elongated, and have lost their limbs, eyelids and external ears - among other changes. It must be noted that there are some species of especially burrowing lizards which are legless or which possess only one pair of legs.

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Approximately what percentage of snakes are venomous?
2%
10%
While many people assume that any snake which bites is venomous, the estimates of the percentage of venomous snake species are usually between just 10 and 25 percent. Furthermore, venomous snakes will sometimes give “dry” bites, that is, bites in which no venom is injected into the victim.
50%
100%

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Which of these can the chameleon snake or Kapuas mud snake do?
whistle
fly
blink
change color
The Kapuas mud snake is found on the island of Borneo in a protected area known as the Heart of Borneo. It is mildly venomous and has the ability to spontaneously change color – a skill which is highly unusual among snakes.

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What do snakes commonly symbolize in Japan?
Family gatherings
Cold weather
Good luck
There is plenty of symbolism associated with snakes in Japanese culture. These include “protection” perhaps from the fact that snakes eat pests, such as mice. They also symbolize rebirth and health, in part due to their shedding of old skin for new. In general they are thought to represent good luck and in particular, financial fortune.
Long journeys

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What is the name given to the fear of snakes?
snakeophobia
serpentophobia
viperophobia
ophidiophobia
The fear of reptiles is known as herpetophobia while the fear of snakes, in particular, is known as ophidiophobia. One study which involved showing 6-month-old babies pictures of snakes and spiders mixed in with pictures of flowers and fish seems to suggest that humans have an innate fear of both snakes and spiders

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Which species of snake is made up of only females?
spiny bush viper
brahminy blind snake
The brahminy blind snake is a non-venomous burrowing snake. It is small, thin and colored purple, shiny silver gray or charcoal gray – characteristics which often lead people to mistake it for an earthworm. The brahminy blind snake is native to Africa and Asia, and holds the distinction of having an all-female population.
Pacific gopher snake
Sri Lanka cat snake

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