Not So Supernatural: Can Snakes Slither Backwards?

Ever sit around and wonder about the small mysteries of the world? How do marine mammals hydrate? Why do turtle doves come in pairs? Why are coconuts hairy? I do. I think about this stuff all the time. Sometimes I feel insecure that I’m asking a stupid question, but of course, there are no stupid questions. So I’m going to share my findings with you about the weird stuff I find myself curious about.

So, Can snakes slither backwards?

Yes. They just seem to prefer not to because it expends a lot more energy. The scales on their belly allow them to use friction to catch the ground and propel themselves. These scales are oriented in a way that causes a lot of resistance when they attempt to slither backwards, making it difficult in a similar way as skateboarding backwards – not impossible but definitely not efficient.

(Sources: Nature Journal, Livescience)




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