Here come some fascinating sidewinder facts slithering to you today from Light Future Art!
1. Sidewinders can be found in the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. Sidewinders’ habitat is the desert, but within the desert, they can live in rocky areas, washes, and sand dunes.
2. Sidewinders get their name from the unique way in which they move. Sidewinders move the middle of their bodies before their head or tail. By slithering in their way, they can move very quickly and climb up hillsides and over loose sand and gravel.
3. Sidewinders are both nocturnal and diurnal. They are diurnal from November to March but nocturnal during the rest of the year when it’s warm enough for them to be out at night.
4. While adult sidewinders don’t have special names for males and females like many other animals do, baby snakes are called snakelets.
5. Snakelets are actually born rather than hatched. The mother gives birth to live young encased in membranes, which the snakelets quickly break out of. On average, a pregnancy yields between five and 18 snakelets. They stay in their natal burrow for about a week, at which point they are prepared to fend for themselves. While sidewinders are independent from a week old, they aren’t fully grown until two or three years old.
6. Sidewinder snakelets have an unusual way of regulating their temperature. The babies coil together to form one mass and block the entrance to their burrow. By balancing the hot temperature outside with the cool temperature inside the burrow, they keep it at the optimal 32 degrees Celsius.
7. Sidewinders are carnivores and eat both large and small rodents, lizards, birds, and other snakes. Young sidewinders in particular like to hunt lizards. This is because young sidewinders have an ability called “caudal luring” which they lose later in life. They flick their tail to imitate the fluttering of a butterfly or moth, which lizards eat.
8. Sidewinders are usually solitary animals but do gather in groups for mating or hibernation. A group of sidewinders has many names, such as nest, pit, den, knot, or bed.
9. Great news! Sidewinders are not in danger of extinction! They are classified as Least Concern by the IUCN and have stable and large populations.
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