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snakes have no legs Snakes have no external ear opennings All snakes have a backbone They are vertebrates but lack limbs eyelids and external ear openings snakes have a specialized row of scales along the underside of their bodies the ventrals some families of snakes do retain vestigal pelvic gridles none of them have pectoral girdles snakes have unique skulls- the bones of their upper jaws are not united at the snout but are free to move away from one another so allowing the passage of larger prey Snakes are long slender vertebrates without legs This definition is not enough to separate snakes from some other groups of animals through Snakes are reptiles and branch of zoology that deals with this class of animals is known as Herpetology The word herpetology is derived from the Greek word herpeton which means a creeping thing In the early days of zoology all lowly animals such as amphibians and reptiles were lumped together in this group of creeping things and the word herpetology was coined to encompass all of them The earliest known fossil creatures resembling snakes are from the lower Cretaceous period some 130 million years ago These were short and heavy and had a mixture of lizard and snake characteristics There are generally accepted to be 14 or 15 families of snakes but the 2400 species are by no means equally divided between them Two families contain only one species each one contains two species while another contains three The largest family of snakes is The Colubridae at present over 1500 species assigned to it The size and the shape of a snake together with the colour and markings help to give each snake its identity They may also hold important clues to the
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