Do Snakes Have Tails

Do Snakes Have Tails

Most snakes have around four hundred bones in their spine. A snakes’ body is made up of one long tube shape with a head and, in special cases, a rattle, but they are mostly made of muscle and bone.

Some snakes can have up to six hundred vertebrae in their backs, which makes for a very long body, but do snakes really have tails?

Snakes do have tails that start at the cloaca. A snake has two distinct types of vertebrae in their body. They have 100 to 450 Precaudal vertebrae in their body section and 10 to 205 Caudal vertebrae with no ribs attached in their tail. A male snake’s tail is longer than a female’s tail because their reproductive organs are housed in their tail.

Do Snakes Have Tails Or Necks

Snakes do not have necks at all. Because a neck rises out of a pectoral girdle, and a snake doesn’t have this feature, it cannot have a neck like other creatures.

Instead, a snakes’ head is directly attached to its body, which happens to look like a long neck.

Additionally, while all snakes have tails, some species make it easier to see why. Pythons have the remainder of vestigial back legs called a pelvic spur and several other small bones where they clearly once had a pelvis to attach them.

Since they evolved to no longer need the legs, they are slowly losing these bones over many generations. However, it shows us why a snake has different types of vertebrae.

Do Snakes Need Tails

Snakes need their tails. For every snake, the tail is significant in a different way. Some snakes have evolved incredible uses for their tails, though not every snake uses it the same way.

Climbing trees and swimming would be much more difficult without those extra bones and added length.

Rattlesnakes, in particular, have a special piece on the end of their tail made from keratin which produces a sound to scare off predators.

Do Snakes Have Prehensile Tails

Many reptiles have prehensile tails. Among these are crested geckos, skinks, and most snakes. Prehensile simply means that the tail is capable of intentionally grasping an object.

For snakes, control of their tails means the ability to bend back on an attacker and strike. It can also mean the snake can snatch prey and squeeze it, as constrictors do when they need to eat.

Tree snakes use their prehensile tails for climbing and grasping onto branches, so they don’t fall.

How Long Are A Snakes Tail

Not every snake is the same size, so how long a snakes’ tail grows depends upon a couple of different factors.

First, the snakes’ age matters as their bodies grow. A baby snake would not have the same tail length as the adult of the same animal.

Secondly, different species of snakes grow different numbers of caudal vertebrae. Since this can range from ten to around two hundred, that makes a huge size difference.

While some snakes only have about three inches of tail, others like the anaconda are massive, and their tails can grow to a foot or more in length.

Why Do Male Snakes Have Longer Tails Than Females

The size of a male snake’s tail matters most because a longer tail means he is more likely to mate successfully.

Likewise, the male snake’s tube-shaped hemipenes, or sexual organs, are housed inside the base of their tails.

The larger the tail, the more space for these two organs. Since female snakes don’t need space for these organs, they tend to have shorter and narrower tails.

Can A Snake Regrow Its Tail

Snakes are members of the reptile family, and many reptiles like skinks and other lizards can grow their tails back. Sadly, snakes did not inherit this beneficial trait. If a snake loses its tail, the tail is just gone.

Fortunately, snakes are rapid healers, so they may survive the loss of a tail. Most importantly, a snakes’ vital organs are all in the top third of its body, so losing a tail may affect future breeding, but it’s not a death sentence.

Do Poisonous Snakes Have Pointed Tails

There is no guaranteed way to spot a poisonous snake based on the shape of its tail.

Although many poisonous snakes do have rather pointy-tipped and fat-looking tails, this is not a universal truth. Rattlesnakes are a vivid example of this with their rounded rattle ends.

Some non-venomous snakes have a double row of scales from the anal plate to the end of the tail, and many venomous varieties do not.

Unfortunately, you’d have to flip the snake upside down to see that, and more importantly, you’d have to be incredibly close to the snake.

If you’re not certain what kind of snake you are looking at, get away from the snake.

A Herpetologist (snake specialist) can tell you what they are by looking, but everyone else is better of keeping well away from unfamiliar wildlife.

Do Copperhead Snakes Have Stingers In Their Tails

Copperhead snakes do not have stingers in their tails. In fact, there are no snakes with stingers in their tails.

While it might hurt to get smacked by a snake or even draw blood, that’s because they are basically all muscle.

An unfortunate and persistent myth is that pointy-tailed snakes are either automatically venomous or have a stinger, but it’s just a story.

Do All Snakes Have Tails

All snakes have tails that begin below their (very modified) pelvis. If you come across a snake without a tail, it results from a congenital disability, mutation, or injury.

While these are relatively rare, they can and do happen in nature.

Do Rattlesnakes Have Tails

Rattlesnakes have very special tails. The unique noise made by rattlesnakes is a series of keratin-based tail segments that fit loosely within one another.

Keratin is the same ‘stuff’ human fingernails and hair are made from. It is also found in rhino horns and the tops of turtle shells.

When the snake shakes the tail quickly, these pieces click together, producing a buzzing or rattling sound.

However, there are several other snake species that less famously use the same trick.

Kingsnakes, Bull snakes, Pine snakes, and Rat snakes, among others, can all use the interlocking keratin segments on the ends of their tails to produce a similar rattling tail noise.

Do Copperhead Snakes Have Poisonous Tails

The colorful yellow and green of a copperhead snake’s tail is easy to misunderstand. In nature, those bright colors often indicate that an animal is poisonous.

The color combined with the pointy appearance makes people think it could sting them.

However, that doesn’t mean copperheads are safe. This species can and will bite you.

Alarmingly, they produce a hemolytic venom that causes red blood cells to break down.

Helpful Tips To Know About A Snakes Tail

Snakes’ tails are fascinating. With so many uses, from defense to hunting and even mating, it’s easy to see why a snakes’ tail is also essential.

Here are some helpful tips to know about a snakes’ tail.

  • A snake’s ribs don’t go all the way down its body. Instead, they stop at the pelvic region, and everything below that is the tail.
  • Some scientists argue that the muscles in a snake’s ‘neck’ area qualify as a neck, though they lack the other necessary biological components.
  • Some aquatic snakes have a side-flattened tail that they use like a fin for swimming more proficiently.

Final Thoughts

It’s easy to look at a snake with no limbs and assume they are either all tail or they don’t have one at all. However, thanks to a biological quirk, there’s a clear answer.

The precaudal vertebrae are in the snake’s body, while the caudal vertebrae are its tail section.

Some snakes even have leftover bones in what would be the pelvic region to indicate where their legs used to be long ago.

Drew Thomas

My name is Drew Thomas and I’m the creator of Fun In the Yard, your one stop site for all your outdoor games, sports, party activities, outdoor gear, and lawn & gardening tips.

Related Posts