Creature Feature #5: Sidewinders

The fifth and final creature feature before the picture book science series is published on August 13, is the sidewinder snake. As I researched and wrote Water-Walking, Sidewinding, and other Remarkable Reptile Adaptations (Nomad Press, August 2020), I discovered why sidewinders move the way they do – of course, it’s an adaptation!

When these snakes move, only two parts of the snake are on the ground at the same time. This allows the snake to use their head and tail to thrust their body forward; it is a great way to gain traction and move across loose sand (up to speeds of 18 miles per hour!). Not only that, sidewinding keeps most of their body off the hot surface of the desert. No one wants a burned belly…not even a snake.

Despite their speed and agility on the loose sand, sidewinders do not use their unique mode of locomotion to chase down prey. Instead they wiggle into the sand, leaving only their eyes above the surface. Then they wait. When an unsuspecting lizard or small rodent happens by, ZAP! It’s dinner time.