A group of snakes is generally called a bed, den, pit or nest, but a group of rattlesnakes is referred to as a rhumba or rumba. It's not entirely clear why it is called a rhumba, but the word comes from a Cuban Spanish term, rumba, which originally meant "party" or "carousel." Terms such as "bed" or "rhumba" are known as collective nouns when they refer to groups of animals.
More collective nouns for animal groups:
- A group of monkeys is often called a tribe or troop, but it can also be called a shrewdness of monkeys. Groups of baboons specifically can be called a flange or congress of baboons, and groups of chimpanzees can be called a harem of chimpanzees.
- Perhaps appropriately, a group of cockroaches is called an intrusion of cockroaches. A group of rats is often called a pack, but it also can be called a mischief. Crows also have particularly negative collective nouns, including an unkindness of crows, as well as a congress, a conspiracy, a parliament and a murder of crows. Doves have a more positive group of names, including a cote of doves and a piteousness of doves.
- A group of ants can be called a bike of ants, and a group of bees can be called a grist of bees.
- Groups of alligators or crocodiles are called congregations, and groups of Komodo dragons are called banks. Both a group of hippopotami and a group of rhinoceri can be called a crash. A group of hippopotami also can be called a bloat.
Is a Group of Snakes Normal?
It’s difficult to study snakes in the wild, but scientists tend to agree that snakes are mostly solitary. However, some species (such as cottonmouths and Cuban boas) sometimes hunt in pairs or groups, and some species gather together in a sheltered location during cold weather. Researchers observing North American garter snakes reported that they seem to gravitate towards small “friend” groups, but the researchers can’t be certain that they engage in the same behavior outside of a captive environment.
How Many Eggs Can a Snake Lay?
The number of eggs a snake typically lays depends on the species. Some lay fewer than a dozen, while others are capable of laying more than 100 at a time. Though there are a few exceptions, most snake species do not care for their eggs after laying, and the hatchlings are on their own. There are also a few species who do not lay eggs at all, but instead undergo pregnancy and give birth to live young.
Where Do Snakes Live?
Snakes are found on every continent except Antarctica, although some islands (including Ireland, Greenland, Iceland, and New Zealand) have no native snake populations. Snakes can live in almost any type of habitat, from forests to swamps to deserts.
What Are Some Unusual Snakes?
More than 60 species of snakes, known as sea snakes, live exclusively in the ocean. Most of them have paddle-like tails and less rounded bodies than land snakes, but they do not have gills and must surface to breathe.
There are five known species of flying snakes. Technically they are gliders rather than true fliers such as birds and bats, but they have better control over their movements than gliding mammals such as flying squirrels, and can even make turns in mid-air.
What Do Snakes Eat?
All snakes are carnivorous, but their exact diet varies by breed and size. Birds, rodents, insects, worms, frogs, lizards, eggs, and fish are all known to be eaten by snakes. Despite their fangs, snakes swallow their prey whole.
How Many Snakes Are Venomous?
Of the more than 3000 known species of snakes, fewer than 20% are venomous, and even fewer have venom that poses a serious risk to humans. Also, venomous snakes sometimes bite without injecting venom. The term “venomous” is distinct from the term “poisonous”: A venomous creature injects toxin by biting or stinging, while a poisonous creature contains toxin that causes problems for the animal or human that swallows it.
What Should You Do if You’re Bitten by a Snake?
Snakes are unlikely to bite humans unless they are frightened or provoked, and people who are bitten by venomous snakes usually survive. If you are bitten, remain calm and try to identify the snake by studying its marking or by taking a photo (if you can do so after removing yourself from the snake’s biting range so as not to incur a second bite). Once you are out of striking distance, call your local emergency number. If you do not have access to a phone, send someone else for help if possible (remaining as still as you can will help slow the spread of any venom throughout your body). While awaiting medical assistance, remove any tight clothing or jewelry near the bite; if you can, also clean the bite with soap and water. Do not try to remove venom by cutting or applying suction to the bite, and do not apply a tourniquet.
Do Snakes Make Good Pets?
Many people enjoy having snakes as pets, but proper care is necessary to keep a pet snake healthy and happy. A pet snake should be kept in a terrarium with a secure lid (snakes can be surprisingly adept escape artists), and the terrarium’s temperature should be carefully monitored; the precise temperatures required vary by breed. The terrarium also needs bedding and an enclosed space where the snake can retreat from the world for a while. After the initial habitat set-up, however, pet snakes require little active care. Although snakes should have their water bowl changed every day, they do not need to be fed daily; depending on age and breed, they may eat as seldom as once every two weeks. The healthiest diet for a pet snake consists of dead but still whole prey such as insects or small rodents. Snakes should not be fed live prey as this practice is cruel to the prey and potentially dangerous to the snake. Like all pets, snakes should receive periodic veterinary exams.