Are Snakes Reptiles or Mammals?
Snakes are one of the oldest and most mysterious creatures in the world and many people wonder, “Are snakes reptiles or mammals?” It can be difficult to determine the exact classification of snakes due to their unique physical characteristics.
Reptiles versus Mammals
The main distinction between reptiles and mammals is that reptiles are cold-blooded and mammals are warm-blooded. Reptiles also lay eggs, while mammals give birth to live young and provide parental care. Additionally, reptiles are typically covered in scales or plates and mammals have fur, hair or feathers.
Snakes come from the suborder Serpentes, which is part of the squamate order that contains other lizards and other reptiles. Snakes are ectothermic (cold-blooded) and do not have an outer fur or feathers, instead, they have scales that help protect them from the elements. Additionally, snakes lay eggs and have internal fertilization.
Because snakes have all of these characteristics, they are considered reptiles, making them distant relatives of crocodiles, komodo dragons, and other lizards.
Unique Characteristics of Some Snakes
Although many snakes share the same reptilian characteristics, some snakes have unique characteristics that make them unique. For example, the anaconda protects its eggs by wrapping itself around them and warming the eggs with its own body heat. This act is typically seen only in mammals and shows that snakes can be similar to mammals in some ways.
In addition, a few snake species, like the King Cobra, give birth to live young instead of laying eggs. This is another behavior that is typically seen in mammals.
Snakes are reptiles and their most common physical features are similar to lizards, crocodiles, and other reptiles. However, some snakes have unique traits that make them similar to mammals. This is evident in their internal fertilization, parental care, and their ability to create body heat to warm eggs.
Overall, snakes are a fascinating species that continues to puzzle scientists and researchers. While they are considered reptiles, some of their characteristics may be more mammal-like than reptilian.