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How do snakes communicate?

Most animals that you come across have some means of communication with one another. Whether that communication is intended for animals of the same species, for other animals, or for both, is dependent upon the kind of animal in the vocalization that it is able to use.

For example, most of us are quite familiar with how a cat communicates. When the cat meows it can mean anything from being hungry, to being playful, to being upset about something. Its hisses are intended to warn any approaching animal that the cat is upset and will take aggressive action to protect itself. Most are familiar with this kind of communication from these animals. It is well recognized, and well understood what the different sounds usually mean. But what about a snake ? How do snakes communicate, not only with one another but with other kinds of animals? Is this even possible? The answer may surprise you a little bit.

First of all, snakes do not make sounds like you would find in many other kinds of animals. In fact, this is one of the common aspects of reptiles in general. Very few reptiles make vocalization sounds to communicate with others in their species or with other kinds of animals. They use alternative means to be able to communicate, and the snake is no different. Before explaining this, it is important to understand that snakes are solitary animals. Cats, dogs, and many other kinds of animals live in and around others in their species. This makes it so that communication is essential in being able to handle the day-to-day life for these animals. This is not the case for the snake.

A snake lives a solitary life, only coming across other snakes by accident or when preparing for battle. They are not looking to communicate with other kinds of animals, so having a means of vocalization is unimportant. However, snakes do communicate with one another. This is done through a very well developed system of pheromones, called a veronassal system. This system allows the snake to leave pheromones, chemicals, as clues for other snakes within the area. The primary purpose of these chemicals is to inform potential mates that the snake is ready for breeding. This continues the reproduction of snakes within the area by giving a means of communication between the male and the females.

For males, this also becomes a warning to other males in the area that one snake has established its territory for females that may enter within the region. They know to stay away from there or to be prepared to battle.

For most other kinds of animals, the chemicals are not detectable to them. This means that they are not given a warning that a snake is in the area. Read more: Snake Control, Venomous Snakes of Florida, How to Identify Snakes, How to Kill Snakes.

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