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Snake Facts
Profile of the Antiguan racer
History of the Antiguan racer
Antigua's endangered species

The bright colours of the coral snake warn that it is highly poisonous
There are over 3000 kinds of snake in the world. Giants like the seven-metre long python can squeeze the life out of a large antelope and swallow it whole. Other snakes grow no longer than a pencil. Some live in the sea, some burrow underground, others climb trees.

One species of fer-de-lance, a deadly viper, has been recorded swallowing prey that was 1.6 times its own body weight.

Poisonous or harmless, large or small, all snakes - from the desert rattlesnake to the dwarf pipe snake - have certain things in common: a long, thin shape; scaly, legless bodies; and unblinking, lidless eyes. Like all reptiles, snakes rely on the heat of the sun to control their body temperature. That's why the greatest variety of species is found in the warm, humid tropical regions of the world.

The venom of the king cobra, the world's largest poisonous snake, is strong enough to kill an elephant.

The unmistakable hood of a deadly cobra
Snakes are shy creatures and we are only just beginning to find out more about how they live. Unfortunately, some species - including the Antiguan racer - are in danger of disappearing altogether before we even have a chance to learn about them. Many snakes are killed for their skins, or simply out of fear. Their habitats - the places where they live - are also being disturbed and destroyed by humans, or invaded by other, more aggressive animals that we have introduced. See Villains.

The paradise tree-snake of South-east Asia can 'fly' through the air by flattening its body into an s-shaped ribbon.

A king cobra can defend
itself as soon as it hatches
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