Most people think of snakes as slithering creatures that move by pushing themselves along the ground with their bellies. However some snakes are able to move without legs. These snakes use a variety of methods to move including undulating sidewinding concertina and rectilinear locomotion.
The most common type of locomotion used by snakes is undulating locomotion. This is where the snake moves by using a wave-like motion to push itself along the ground. The snake’s body is divided into a series of muscular segments which contract and relax in a coordinated fashion to produce the undulating motion.
One advantage of undulating locomotion is that it is very efficient. Snakes are able to move at high speeds using this method and can even travel up steep inclines.
However undulating locomotion is not well suited to all environments. It is not very effective in loose sand or other loose substrates as the snake’s body can sink into the substrate and lose traction.
Sidewinding locomotion is used by some snakes when undulating locomotion is not possible or not effective. In this form of locomotion the snake moves its body in a sideways motion propelling itself forwards with its belly.
Sidewinding is often used in loose sand or other loose substrates as it helps the snake to maintain traction and prevents its body from sinking into the substrate.
However sidewinding is not as efficient as undulating locomotion and is only used when necessary.
Concertina locomotion is used by some snakes when they need to move through narrow spaces. In this form of locomotion the snake moves its body in a series of loops similar to the way a concertina moves.
This form of locomotion is very efficient as it allows the snake to move its entire body through a small space. However it is not well suited to all environments as the snake needs a firm surface to push against in order to move forwards.
Rectilinear locomotion is used by some snakes when they need to move in a straight line. In this form of locomotion the snake moves its body in a series of straight lines similar to the way a train moves.
This form of locomotion is very efficient as it allows the snake to move its entire body in a straight line. However it is not well suited to all environments as the snake needs a firm surface to push against in order to move forwards.
So how do snakes move without legs? They use a variety of methods including undulating sidewinding concertina and rectilinear locomotion. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages and snakes will use different methods depending on their environment and the situation.
How Do Snakes Move Without Legs?
It’s a question that has perplexed scientists for years and one that we still don’t have a definitive answer for. But that doesn’t mean we’re not making progress. In fact recent research has shed new light on how these reptiles slither and crawl their way around the world.
Here’s what we know so far about how snakes move without legs:
1. Snakes Use A Combination Of Muscles And Ribs To Move
The main muscle group that snakes use to move is located in their ventral or lower side. This large muscle mass runs the length of the snake’s body and is used to push the animal forward.
In addition to these muscles snakes also have a series of smaller muscles that run along their ribs. These muscles help the snake to keep its body tense which is necessary for movement.
2. Snakes Undulate Their Bodies To Move
To move forward snakes undulate their bodies. This means that they create a series of waves that travel down their length.
The amplitude or height of these waves varies depending on the snake’s speed. For example snakes will create larger waves when they need to move quickly such as when they’re escaping from a predator.
3. Snakes Use Their Scales To Grip The Ground
One of the things that makes snakes so good at moving without legs is their scales. These tough keratinous structures help the reptile to grip the ground preventing them from slipping as they move.
4. Snakes Use Their Tails For Balance
Another important part of a snake’s anatomy is its tail. This long slender appendage provides balance and stability as the snake moves.
5. Some Snakes Can Move In Strange Ways
There are some snakes that can move in ways that are completely different from the methods described above. For example some species of snake can climb trees and others can swim.
So how do snakes move without legs? It’s a mystery that we’re still trying to solve. But one thing is for sure: these reptiles are some of the most fascinating creatures on the planet.