Snakes vary greatly in body shape. Some have stout bodies, while others have long, thin bodies. The bodies of sea snakes are flattened from side to side.
The illustration at left shows some of the variations in body shapes of snakes. The yellow-bellied sea snake is flattened sideways, and its tail forms an oarlike paddle. Vine snakes have an extremely long, thin body, while the Malaysian short python is stubby. The Texas blind snake has a cylindrical body.
The males and females of most species of snakes do not differ greatly in body shape and appearance. However, among some species, the females are larger than the males. In some other species, the males are larger. In still others, there may be a significant difference in appearance between males and females. One such case is the langaha of Madagscar. Male langahas have a conelike stub on the snout, while females have a long snout shaped somewhat like a maple leaf.
Unlike human beings and most other animals, snakes keep growing until they die. The rate of growth is much faster when they are young, and continues to slow down as they age. An old snake may grow only a little bit, but it will still grow.
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This page was last updated on March 14, 2014.