Myths and Legends

There are many myths and beliefs about snakes that have been passed on from generation to generation and survive to this day, some come from misinterpretations of their habits and others are simply unfounded inventions.
Here are some of the best known:

The Rattlesnake and the Age

It is a popular belief that in the case of rattlesnakes each segment of this corresponds to a year of life as the growth lines of a tree. The truth is that each segment of the rattle corresponds to a skin change.

The last scale of the tail is modified, and when the snake changes the skin the old segment is joined to the new one, so in each molt a segment is added to the rattle, the skin change occurs several times a year, is more frequent in the young individuals that in the old ones, besides with the use and drag the rattle breaks and fall but it’s replaced constantly in the process of skin change, reason why it is impossible to determine the age of the snake by counting the segments of the rattle.

The venom glands

It is generally believed that snakes need to remove poison glands also known as “poison bags” to drink water because if the poison gets wet it is no longer useful and that when the snakes lose these bags or are stolen they become so angry that they whip their heads against the rocks to death. In reality, snakes get most of the water from the prey they consume, as well as the dew that accumulates in their bodies which they drink and of course they can drink it in a normal way from any place where it is deposited. The venom bags, are in fact modified salivary glands that produce and store the poison, that as mentioned above is a complex of digestive enzymes and is dissolved in water. The only way these glands can be removed is through surgery that can only be performed by a specialist veterinarian. Keep reading.


It is wrongly believed that rattlesnake meat is “miraculous” and cures cancer and other ills, it is illegally sold along the roads, markets and weeds. This meat is rich in protein and low in fat, contains omega-3 fatty acids that are antioxidants, is very nutritious, similar to chicken or fish but has no miraculous properties that cure diseases.

Bite with the tongue

Since the snakes tongue has two thin tips people have the belief that they also bite with it. In fact the snakes do not “bite” with the tongue, they actually bite and inoculate the venom by modified erroneously teeth called “fangs”. A fang is a conical and solid tooth made to tear, while the snake’s injector tooth is hollow like a hypodermic needle and is designed for venom inoculation. As for the tongue, it is a very soft tissue, the two tips help to detect odors.

Blind Snakes

Many people claim that snakes are blind despite from having well developed eyes and even some species have vertical pupils like cats adapted for night vision. In fact snakes see better in the dark than many other animals.

Snakes that drink milk

It is believed that alicants take cow’s or lactating women milk, this is totally false because they can not even digest it, they could even intoxicate

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