From a lead role as Eve’s tempter in the Bible to regular appearances in the Harry Potter books and movies, snakes have slithered their way into world mythology and popular culture with tales born of fear as well as respect.
In the more than 130 million years since they appeared, snakes have evolved into a highly versatile vertebrate, boasting the ability to climb straight up, dart through water and, in some species, even fly — all without limbs. Combine this mobility with a worldwide presence and a sometimes-deadly bite, and snakes can quickly become the stuff of myths.
In this article, we’ll shed some of their mystique. You’ll learn how snakes get around, how they kill and eat their prey, and how they court and reproduce, making note of some fascinating species along the way.