snake, common name for an elongated, limbless reptile of the order Squamata, which also includes the x lizards. Most snakes live on the ground, but some are burrowers, arboreal, or aquatic; one group is exclusively marine. In temperate climates they hibernate. They are generally solitary in their habits, although they may congregate in places offering food or shelter, and large numbers may hibernate together. Snakes range in length from about 4 in. (10 cm) to over 30 ft (9 m). Most are protectively colored.
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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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