5. Pareas iwasakii
This tiny but rather large-headed Japanese has one of the most oddly specific diets in the animal kingdom; its asymmetrical jaws are adapted for preying entirely upon snails…so long as their shells spiral clockwise. A once rare mutation is known to produce snails with counter-clockwise shells, and since these provide a greater challenge to the snakes, the “mirrored” snails may be growing steadily more common.
The “stilleto” snake has also been called a “mole viper” and “burrowing asp.” Though highly venomous, it spends most of its time tunneling through soil with little or no room to open its jaws and strike. Instead, it possesses switchblade-like “pop out” fangs, which it hooks into subterranean prey by jerking its head backwards, hooking into their flesh.
“Blindsnakes” or “threadsnakes” are another group of burrowers, nonvenomous but quite a bit weirder than our last serpent. With eyes covered over by thin scales,tubular worm-like bodies and mouths tucked underneath their heads, these animals are completely adapted to a fossorial (burrowing) lifestyle, and feed primarily on soft subterranean insects such as termites and ant larvae. Some species even possess tiny, movable finger-like sensory growths on their snouts,much like a star-nosed mole.
2. Eunectes murinus
No list of snakes is complete without the green anaconda, the heaviest alive today and one of the world’s longest predators. While their typical recorded length is up to sixteen feet, reports of anacondas over thirty feet in length have circulated for centuries. Like all constrictors, they wrap their bodies around prey to restrict breathing and kill by asphyxiation, swallowing the prey whole when it finally stops struggling.
1. Naja ashei
With their deadly venom and famous “hooded” threat display, cobras are easily the world’s most iconic, most dramatized reptiles, and none are as fearsome as the various “spitting” cobras, who can spray venom several feet from their fangs with muscular contraction, often aiming deliberately for the eyes of attackers and capable of causing blindness. Naja ashei, a species from Kenya, is the largest and most venomous spitting cobra in the world, reaching lengths of up to nine feet from head to tail.