Contributor: Samantha Penna. Lesson ID: 11443

Do you have ophidiophobia? That's a big word for fear of snakes. Learn to appreciate them with this lesson, and even create your own colorful snake from (get this) a toilet paper roll!


Life Science

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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  • How would you get around with no legs?
  • How would you eat with no arms?

snake on a branch

  • Have you ever seen a snake?
  • Where did you see it?

snake at a petting zoo

All snakes are reptiles. This means they have many things in common with turtles, alligators, crocodiles, and lizards. Snakes are cold-blooded.

  • Do you know what it means to be cold-blooded?

Cold-blooded animals need to regulate their body temperature.

This means when a snake is too cold, it will lay in the sun to warm up. It will hide in the shade to cool down when it's too hot. When a snake is too cold, its body slows down.

  • Have you ever been freezing?
  • What did you do to warm up?

Check out the snake below. This snake is enjoying the hot sun!

snake basking on a rock

If you have ever owned a pet snake, you know snakes need a heat lamp to keep warm. You will often see snakes enjoying hot rocks that have been heated up by the sun. This is a great way for them to warm up!

Snakes are vertebrates. This means they have a backbone.

Check out the skeleton below.

snake skeleton

  • What do you notice about the skeleton?
  • Can you find the backbone of the snake?

As you can see, a snake has a long backbone that extends through its body.

All reptiles have hard scales on their skin.

  • Can you see the scales on the blue viper snake below?

blue viper

Their hard scales give them extra protection, allow them to retain moisture, help them move, and help them blend into their surroundings.

Snakes come in many different colors.

  • Can you think of some snakes you have seen?
  • What colors were they?

Many snakes come in shades of green, gray, brown, and black. This helps them blend into their surroundings.

Some snakes have interesting patterns.

  • Did you know certain patterns on a snake can indicate whether or not a snake is venomous (poisonous)?

There are around 2,900 species of snakes on the earth, and only 375 of these snake species are venomous. Some areas have more venomous snakes than others.

Here are some ways you can tell if a snake is venomous.

Venomous snakes are usually wide and fat.

If a snake has a rattle on the end of its tail, it is a venomous rattlesnake.

Elliptical eyes (cat eyes) can indicate whether a snake is venomous.

"Red on yellow, and you're a dead fellow" is a great way to remember a venomous snake pattern!

There are many types of venomous snakes on the earth. If you ever come in contact with a snake in the wild, leave it be! Do not try to catch snakes or kill them.

It is not always easy to tell whether or not a snake is venomous. Some snakes may look venomous even though they are completely harmless.

Look at the two snakes below.

  • Can you tell which one is venomous and which one is not?

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  • They look very similar, don't they?

The first one is a milk snake. Milk snakes are not venomous. The second snake is a coral snake. Coral snakes are dangerous to humans because they are venomous.

It is easy to confuse one snake for another. Always remember, if you see a snake, leave it alone!

Snakes help humans in many ways. We would have too many insects, mice, rats, and other small animals without snakes. Snakes help control the populations of these critters.

  • How do you think they control the population of insects, mice, and rats?

That's right! They control the population of these animals by feeding on them!

Snakes are carnivores. They eat meat! Unlike most animals, snakes do not chew their food. They open their jaws wide and swallow their prey whole.

snake eating

Before moving to the Got It? section, say out loud three interesting facts you learned about snakes.

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