How Do Snakes Communicate with Each Other?

Norfolk snake

Most snakes prefer to be alone. Nonetheless, it does not instantly mean that they can no longer communicate with one another. Usually, their engagement will only be limited to intraspecific interaction. Typically, the snake will not be armed appropriately to have a comprehensive communication. They can only pick-up restricted sounds that also limit how they can communicate with other snakes. Generally, snakes communicate when defending and finding their mating partner.

What Are the Different Forms of Snakes Communication?
While they may not be equipped with the standard communication system, they are perfectly suitable for picking up chemical cues through their sense of smell and taste. They also have a well-developed vomeronasal system. The main component of this system would be the Jacobson's organ found on the roof of the snake's mouth. It has openings where the chemicals are entering. If you saw a snake flicking its tongue, it means that they are picking chemicals on the environment and sending them to the vomeronasal system. They will then be able to tell the direction of the source of the smell that will help them track their prey. They will also use this to pick up the chemicals released by other snakes.

What Are the Pheromones that Snakes Released?
Snakes can leave a trail of chemical cues as they move. However, the most important would be the pheromones. Pheromones are mostly lipids that the snake will intentionally leave on substrates. However, there are also types of pheromones that can be left in the air; this will make it easier for the snake to capture the chemical cues from a distance. Through pheromones, the snakes can determine the reproductive condition, age, and gender of the snake. During the winter season, the juveniles will follow the pheromones released by the adult to look for a communal den. There are species of garter snakes that will emit pheromones during the mating season to trick their competitors.

Can Snakes Communicate When Fighting?
Some male species of snakes will be antagonistic to one another. When establishing their dominance, they had to communicate with others. One male may initiate a fight against the other snakes. You will observe this kind of behavior during the breeding season, especially when there is a sexually receptive female close by. Snakes may also perform tactile communication; they may perform a range of movements when wooing a female snake. According to the experts, the series of twitching and jerking is a way for the snake to get the approval of the female snake.

While you may hear that snakes will rattle or hiss, they are regarded as technically 'deaf' since the way they interpret and pick up sound will be different from humans and other animals. Recently, experts have noticed that some snake species such as the King Cobra will hiss on a lower frequency, which is believed to be within the snake's hearing capacity. They refer to this sound as 'growl.' Further studies are required to understand if they are using this to communicate with one another.

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