Last Updated on January 5, 2021 by Neil Mackengie
Snakes are reptiles, and all reptiles have skin that is dry and scaly. The snakes are thus related to the lizards, alligators and crocodiles, and turtles and tortoises. Since there are over 2,000 different species, or kinds, of snakes, there are some that live on land, some in the earth, others in the water, and still others in trees.
They inhabit practically all parts of the world except the polar regions and some of the ocean islands. Since snakes have no legs (though the boas and pythons have the remains of hind legs), the scales help them move about.
This is how this works. On the underside of the snake, there are very broad scales. The snake can move them forward in such a way that the rear edge of each scale pushes against some irregularity in the ground. When they are pushed back against these irregularities, the whole snake moves forward.
All snakes, young and old, shed their skins. Even the film that covers the eyes is cast off. The skin is turned inside out during the process. The snake removes it by rubbing against rough surfaces. The shedding occurs several a year.
What Is The Purpose Of Scales?
Scales provide protection from the environment and from predators.