Bullsnake coiled and ready to strike


Snakes loom large in the human imagination, from the venomous cobras to the boas and pythons that squeeze their prey to death and swallow it whole. In the UK only the adder is venomous, but elsewhere - such as in Australia - are concentrations of some of the planet's most toxic snakes. Snakes are venomous rather than poisonous as they actively deliver toxins, usually through a bite. Explore below to find video of David Attenborough's close encounter with a spitting cobra and watch sea kraits as they defy the image of snakes as single-minded individualists to go hunting in a group.

Did you know?
The largest snake ever discovered was a Titano boa, it lived 60 million years ago and would have measured 15m (50ft).

Scientific name: Serpentes

Rank: Suborder

Watch video clips from past programmes (4 clips)

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Map showing the distribution of the Snakes taxa

The shading illustrates the diversity of this group - the darker the colour the greater the number of species. Data provided by WWF's Wildfinder.


Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Video collections

Take a trip through the natural world with our themed collections of video clips from the natural history archive.

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