eastern twig or vine snake

17 Mind-Blowing Facts About Twig Snakes

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Twig snakes, also known as brown tree snakes, are a fascinating yet often misunderstood species of snake. They have a unique appearance and behavior that sets them apart from other snakes. Here are 17 mind-blowing facts about these incredible reptiles:

Twig snakes, with their brown, bark-like scales, are masters of camouflage. This allows them to hide in plain sight among tree branches. Though twig snakes are mildly venomous, they rarely bite humans. Their true talent lies in their incredible climbing ability. Read on to learn more twig snake facts that will blow your mind!

Facts About Twig Snakes

  1. Twig snakes are native to Australia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. They thrive in tropical forests and woodlands. Their camouflage helps them blend in perfectly amongst the trees and vegetation.
  2. They have special scales on their belly that allow them to grip branches. These scales are larger and rougher than their other scales, giving them an almost velcro-like grip. This helps them climb narrow branches with ease.
  3. Twig snakes have a prehensile tail. They can wrap their tail securely around branches to anchor themselves while climbing or reaching for food. Their tail acts like a fifth hand!
  4. They are mildly venomous but rarely bite humans. Twig snakes have rear-fanged venom glands that produce a mild neurotoxic venom. However, they are not aggressive snakes and only bite when threatened.
  5. Twig snakes are nocturnal and sleep coiled up during the day. They emerge at night to hunt for prey like small mammals, birds, eggs, and lizards. Their vertical pupils help them see well in low light conditions.
  6. They have an incredible sense of smell vital for hunting. Twig snakes flick their forked tongue constantly to detect scent particles in the air and track prey. They have an auxiliary olfactory organ that further enhances their sense of smell.
  7. Twig snakes are oviparous, meaning they lay eggs. The female lays a clutch of 2-12 leathery eggs in hollow logs or tree cavities. She stays coiled around them until they hatch two months later.
  8. Baby twig snakes are independent from birth. They hatch out fully formed and ready to hunt. They receive no parental care and have to fend for themselves right away.
  9. Twig snakes are responsible for causing blackouts on Guam! An invasive population exploded after arriving on ships in the 1940s. They climb power poles and short-circuit electrical systems when electrocuted.
  10. They are incredible climbers capable of reaching treetop canopies. Using their prehensile tails, rough belly scales, and lean muscular bodies, they can ascend vertical tree trunks and dangle from branches.
  11. Twig snakes can flatten their bodies to fit through tiny gaps. By loosening their vertebral joints, they can compress their body to one third its normal width and slip through impossibly narrow spaces!
  12. They are immune to the venom of cane toads. Cane toad toxins are deadly to many Australian predators, but twig snakes can eat them without ill effects due to mutations in their toxin-binding receptors.
  13. Twig snakes have horizontal pupils rather than round ones. This unique shape allows them to see clearly even when their head is tilted at an angle, vital for hunting in trees and scanning the forest floor.
  14. They have heat-sensing pits on their face to detect warm-blooded prey. These infrared sensory pits, along with their forked tongue and keen eyesight, make twig snakes formidable ambush predators.
  15. Their scales help regulate body heat and prevent water loss. The scales overlay each other like shingles, providing insulation. Their coloring also helps camouflage them as well as absorb or reflect heat.
  16. Twig snakes have over 200 vertebrae, more than any other snake species. This allows them to bend their bodies into tight coils and knots high up in the trees as they rest.
  17. They are ovoviviparous as well as oviparous. Sometimes baby snakes develop inside their eggs before hatching inside the female! These “live-bearing” births are rarer but do occur.


As you can see, twig snakes have remarkable features that enable their arboreal lifestyle. Their anatomy and physiology are fine-tuned for climbing, camouflage, hunting, and survival amongst the trees. Hopefully these twig snake facts shed new light on these incredible reptiles! Learning more about different species fosters appreciation and conservation.

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