Snakes are incredible reptiles that have no arms or legs, but they still seem to get around just fine! Snakes can slither across the ground, climb trees, and swim! Without any arms or legs, these are all pretty big accomplishments! But, what about jumping?
Can snakes jump?
Snakes cannot jump in the traditional sense. However, they are still able to get some serious air! All snakes are able to strike upwards, but at least a third of their body stays on the ground. Some species of arboreal snakes have learned even how to fly from tree to tree.
A jumping snake is probably the last thing you have to worry about! Let’s talk about snakes striking and flying and the difference between these two things and jumping!
Jumping Snakes, Do They Exist?
If we want to get technical, jumping snakes do not exist! So if you’re wondering, “is there a snake that can jump,” the answer is no.
The reason for this comes from the definition of the word “jump” itself. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, to jump is to “push yourself suddenly off the ground and into the air using your legs.” On the other hand, a snake is defined as ” a long reptile with no arms or legs.”
By definition, snakes can’t possibly jump because they don’t have the legs to do it! Not only do snakes not have legs but they just don’t have the ability to get their entire body completely off of the ground and into the air.
But, snakes are amazing reptiles and have evolved to be super mobile over a variety of terrains! Even though snakes can’t technically jump, that doesn’t mean they aren’t able to get air.
Can Snakes Climb?
I can’t stress enough how cool snakes are! Even though these reptiles lack arms and legs, they make great climbers.
Snakes’ bodies are entirely covered in long, strong muscles. Because of this snakes have an incredible ability to grasp onto prey and other things with their bodies.
Wild arboreal or tree-dwelling snakes are able to climb almost vertically up a tree. They’re able to do this with their strong abdominal muscles in the same way a human might climb a rope. They can also climb by using their specialized scales and belly to grip tiny pieces of bark on a tree. So while you won’t see a snake jumping up onto a tree, you will see them get very high into the air, very quickly.
Pet snakes are also able to climb surprisingly well. From personal experience, I know that some species of snakes are labeled as “escape artists.” This is because no matter how tall thier enclosure is, they will still find a way to escape if the lid isn’t secured! Leave it to a snake to be able to scale the glass side of an enclosure!
So although snakes cannot jump, they are adept climbers.
We mentioned flying snakes above. Let’s talk a little bit about those!
What Are Flying Snakes?
Flying snakes are a genus of snakes that contain 5 separate species!
These flying snakes can be found throughout Asia. The snakes fly by climbing a try, hanging from a branch, and flinging themselves to another branch. While in the air, these snakes can use special movements to propel themselves even further. Flying snakes can jump distances of up to 300 feet!
In reality, these snakes should be called gliding snakes because that’s exactly what they do and there aren’t actually any modern reptiles that fly.
In case you can’t imagine a snake flying 300 feet through the air, here’s a video for you.
The last thing that could be confused for a snake jumping is a strike.
What Is The Difference Between A Strike and A Jump?
Most snakes are able to strike. Striking is a fast darting movement a snake makes with their head as a defensive or offensive movement towards a threat.
A strike can also come with a bite and venom if a snake is feeling threatened. The biggest difference between a strike and a jump is that when a snake strikes, at least 1/3 of its body stays on the ground. When a snake strikes from a coiled position it uses the weight of its body as an anchor to push off of. Strikes are quick, powerful, and can deal damaging blows.
If we look back at the definition of a jump, we can see that striking and jumping are not the same things. When a snake strikes, it doesn’t get completely off of the ground. Essentially, this is the difference between a strike and a jump.
So you might not have to worry about a snake jumping up off of the ground towards you, but with a good strike some snakes can reach up to 2/3 of their body length away from them! This means that some of the largest rattlesnakes could potentially strike 6 feet upwards.
Is There Anything Snakes Can’t Do?
Snakes can’t jump. But, they can strike, fly, and climb. Is there anything they can’t do?
You might be thinking these reptiles are more versatile and mobile than you originally thought! Surely if you have one as a pet you’ve been amazed to see them move and fit into all sorts of small spaces. Have you ever wondered if your snake can swim?
Can Snakes Swim?
If you’ve never heard of a sea snake, I’m here to break the news to you! There are around 70 species of snakes that spent all or nearly all of their life in the water.
These snakes are adept swimmers and have special traits like a thin paddle-shaped tail that acts like a rudder. But, it’s not only sea snakes that swim. Most pet snakes are able to swim in a pinch. Ball pythons for example are able to swim to avoid predators, chase prey, or maybe even cool down.
If you asked, “can snakes jump” to satisfy your curiosity, I hope you feel well informed. Although snakes cannot jump by definition, they have plenty of other ways to get up into the air. If they want to climb. snakes can use their specialized belly scales and powerful muscles to climb up most surfaces. Certain species of snakes are able to fly from tree to tree in a jungle. And, if a snake wants to, they powerfully strike at something that is at least 12 of its body length above the ground. Snakes are also great swimmers, and not at all out of place in a marine environment.
If you came here looking to see if snakes jump because you are afraid of them, don’t worry. In the right (or wrong) regions, snakes can be found below above, and around us. But, snakes aren’t hunting people. In fact, when snakes do attack people it comes from a defensive motivation, not an offensive one. Our recommendation to avoid conflicts with wild snakes is to always watch your step. If you see a snake in the wild that appears to be coiled up and watching you, it’s best to move away from that snake!
Do you have a pet snake that you’re worried about escaping? Well, even though snakes can’t jump they are masters of escape. To prevent your snake from escaping its enclosure always double-check that the door is securely fastened. For sneakier snakes, it’s also a good idea to keep the door of your snake’s room closed, just to prevent any escapes into the house or the yard.
We hope you found the answer you were looking for and can rest easy knowing that there is no such thing as a jumping snake!