How often have you stepped into your garden or your backyard bare feet and felt something slithering away?
This must make you feel uncomfortable, but when you lift your feet, you will find that it is a harmless earthworm or a slug.
But sometimes, you might find slightly dangerous ones like leeches among these creatures. Usually, during monsoon or after the rains, you will find these worms in your garden.
Several animals slither and slide, and this is their method of movement.
Animals that slither
- Legless Lizards
List of animals that slither:
I had not observed much about these creatures until my nephew pointed out the peculiar way that earthworms and snails move. So we decided to make the following list of animals that slither.
If you have observed how snails move, you will find that it is pretty different from other creatures.
Snails do not slither and slide like snakes, but their movement is very similar to slithering .. only being done in slow motion.
What snails do is release a layer of mucus and then move forward with the help of a contraction and expansion movement.
If you have ever lifted a snail on your hand, you will find that it leaves a trail of slime on your hand. It is this slime that lubricates the movement of the snails.
Their movement is similar to crawling and sliding and as the mucus layer reduces friction, the snail can easily slide forward.
Eels are unique creatures as they can survive without water for long hours.
You will sometimes see eels slithering across the land, especially when migrating from one water body to another.
This evolutionary capability of eels is something that the creatures have developed to help them find better breeding grounds.
Eels can slither nearly four hundred meters to reach a new water body to find better breeding grounds.
This ability to ‘pond hop’ can help the eels perpetuate their genetic material. The primary reason for this is that eels die after the birth of young ones.
Hence, they need suitable breeding grounds to grow young eels without being hunted by predators.
Once the young eels are old enough, they often slither back to the old water bodies.
Slugs do not have feet like other creatures in the animal kingdom. Instead, their movement is similar to that of snails.
Slugs do not release mucus, but they leave behind a trail of moisture.
The mucus-like moisture released by a slug helps it to slither forward.
These creatures move with a gliding movement and just like a snail, the slug also moves with the help of an expansion and contraction movement.
The movement of slugs is relatively slow, and you will find that they look for moist places because it helps with keeping the moisture content of their body intact thereby making it easier for them to move.
Worms move with a slithering movement.
If you observe the movement of snakes and worms, you will find that it is similar as both creatures have cylindrical bodies.
Take, for instance, earthworms; you will find that they can curve their bodies like snakes and move forward in a slithering and gliding motion.
You must have heard that worms wriggle, but this is a movement that they make when they want to move out of a particular space.
The regular movement of worms will be a slithering one, where it will curve and twist its body and move forward.
Worms also need moisture to make it easier for them to move, and they can dry out.
This can reduce their ability to move and even prove dangerous to the worms.
5. Legless lizards
It is easy to mistake legless lizards for snakes, but they are actually lizards.
These lizards grew smaller-sized limbs through years of evolution until their forelimbs and hind limbs wholly disappeared.
Instead, the lizard developed a slithering-like movement similar to that of snakes.
This is because the legless lizards spend most of their time underground, and their limbs can prove to be a hindrance when they are trying to burrow beneath the ground.
So instead, they learned how to burrow with their head and body as they evolved.
Given their burrowing lifestyle, the legless lizard’s body is better suited without limbs.
You will also find that their movement is faster and resembles the slithering movement of snakes. They curve, twist, and glide like snakes.
The movement of snakes is known as Rectilinear Locomotion, but it is commonly known as slithering.
Snakes are the most efficiently slithering creatures. When you think of animals that can slither, the first species that crosses your mind will be snakes.
This is because the scales on the snakes’ body make it easier for the creature to slither and slide forward.
Research also shows that a lubricant lies beneath the scales that make the slithering movement of snakes easier.
The slithering movement of snakes can even help them climb up walls and even trees.
Another unique feature is that snakes can slither quite fast.
Compared to other creatures that can slide, you will find that the sliding movement of snakes is relatively swift and smooth.
Sometimes snakes can even slide sideways, especially when hunting or sliding away from predators.
Snakes are also one of the animals that can crawl on land.
Leeches have a unique undulating movement that helps them move forward with ease.
Usually, these creatures are pretty small, and they swell up only after sucking blood.
As these creatures do not have a vertebral column, their movement is similar to slithering and sliding.
They will move forward by contracting and expanding their entire body.
Observing the undulating movement of leeches can even remind you of the slithering movement of eels.
The undulating movement of leeches is necessary to help the creature find suitable prey to latch on to.
As leeches need to suck on the blood of a suitable host, they might need to move forward to find such a host.
However, due to the lack of limbs, you will find that leeches make the slithering movement to find a suitable host.