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How Do Snakes Swim? Amazing!

How Do Snakes Swim? Amazing!

Not all snakes are what you would call “water snakes” – but all snakes can swim!

Just because a snake can swim doesn’t necessarily mean it enjoys it, it just means it is a resource snakes have if they choose to use it.


How Do Snakes Swim?

Snakes use lateral, wave-like motions to create an S shape while swimming. These motions begin at the top of the snake’s head and proceed down their body, with the tail acting as a propeller to propel them in the water.


How Snakes Swim

Before you can understand how a snake swims, you must understand how a snake moves. Most of us who work with snakes are familiar with their four types of movements.

However, if you don’t spend a lot of time with snakes, if you were asked how a snake moves, you might be inclined to say it slithers.

This isn’t incorrect. There is just a bit more to it than that.

Every inch of a snake’s body has a muscle under it. Along with its scales, it moves across the terrain by using both the muscles and its scales working together.


Rectilinear Method

The snake moves ahead in a straight path while using this mode of movement.

Slowly crawling ahead, the snake primarily utilizes the wide scales on its tummy to grasp at the ground and propel itself forward.



It is most common for snakes to employ this sort of motion when they are on a surface that is difficult for their stomach scales to grasp, such as sand and mud.

The snake jerks its neck forward and twists its body in the same manner as it moves its neck forward. To keep this movement going, the snake tosses its head forward another time while it pushes its body ahead.


Concertina Method

In confined places, it is possible to watch a snake moving by employing the concertina approach. It sounds remarkably like the way an inchworm moves, which is a good thing.

In order to stabilize its rear end, the snake presses against the earth or an item for a period of time. With the remaining part of its body, it then pushes itself forward.

Afterward, it stoops its head and kind of clings onto the earth uses its chin while scooching the rest of its body forward.


Serpentine Method

This is the type of movement that you would expect to see when you imagine a snake slithering along a surface.

This movement has a wavelike motion to it. The snake will push off from a resting position from just about anything near it.

Then it continues to use that momentum to keep moving ahead, oscillating its body, and pushing itself forward with its belly scales.


Not All Snakes Are Great Swimmers

While most snakes are capable of moving on land, this is not the case when it comes to traveling in, or across, bodies of water.

Certain snakes, like sea snakes, have evolved to live in an aquatic habitat. These snakes are highly skilled swimmers.

The swimming abilities of several freshwater snakes are superior to those of their mostly terrestrial relatives.

Some snakes, such as the water moccasin, are extremely buoyant, making them ideal for swimming. They float on the water’s surface and raise their heads above the surface to observe their surroundings.

Swimming near the surface of the water or just below the surface of the water is typical for other water snakes or any snake going for a swim.

There are certain snakes that love spending most of their waking hours underwater. These snakes, known as sea snakes, are capable of remaining underwater for close to an hour.

They have also evolved flattened tails that act as a paddle in the water.

They are able to swim rapidly because of this adaptability. Those snakes who have evolved to live near or in the water have bodies that are a bit flatter, and some have tails that resemble paddles.

This, of course, allows them to dart forward and move more quickly and effectively than land snakes.

Likewise, certain sea snakes have been known to travel long distances, even from one island to another!

As a result, snakes are not deterred by water. They can all swim employing the same four motions that drive them across land (and through forests and mountains), even without limbs!

Even though some snakes skim through water and others plunge into it, they all manage to navigate through this difficult part of their habitat.


Why Snakes Swim

As we’ve already said, some snakes spend virtually all their time in or around bodies of water. These snakes spend lots of time underwater, looking for food.

Other snakes go in to aid in the internal body temperature regulation. Snakes depend on the temperature to warm them up.

They are cold-blooded reptiles. So, they can function and do things like eating.

If the snake is too cold, it can’t function correctly, it won’t be able to eat or digest food, which can cause serious health problems and even death.

When the temperatures are too warm, they must cool off and a swim is a perfect way to do it.

As a snake owner, I have found that placing snakes at appropriate temperatures helps them during a shedding cycle.

A lot of snake owners use their bathtub – I’m not fond of the idea, so I purchased a plastic kiddy pool, and that works just as good.


Can Snakes Drown

Snakes have lungs, whether it’s one or two, but they do use them for breathing, so yes, snakes can drown.

The same goes for sea snakes, who, despite being able to hold their breaths underwater, must resurface to breathe.

Pet snakes can also drown. They have drowned in bathtubs while swimming, and even in water dishes. If you own pet snakes, never leave them alone in the water.


Frequently Asked Questions about How Snakes Swim


Do Poisonous Snakes Swim Atop the Water?

You can find venomous snakes swimming on the water’s surface. Most of the serpents swimming on the water’s surface are considered poisonous.


Do Swimming Pools Attract Snakes?

Snakes are attracted to swimming pools. They enjoy a nice cool dip on a hot summer day as much as you do. In addition, if your yard has a lot of tall grass, it gives them a place to rest and even hunt.



Snakes are magnificent creatures, and they enjoy a swim just as much as you do.

Keep a close eye on your pet snakes to keep them safe and keep a close eye out for them when in bodies of water.

How Do Snakes Breathe? It Works Like This!

Friday 27th of August 2021

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