Snakes – Preschool Lesson Plan

Whole group introduction

Why do we need snakes?
Snakes help keep rodent populations from growing out of control and damaging crops or buildings.

  • Snakes are reptiles. Their body temperature changes with their surroundings. They get warm by sitting in the sun or other warm places. They cool down in shade. During winter in colder climates snakes hibernate under ground.
  • Life-cycle of a  snake – Egg to snake in 60 days, or live birth. Most snakes hatch from eggs and live on their own once hatched. Garter snakes give birth to live babies. Snakes are fully capable of taking care of themselves from birth.
  • Where do snakes live? Everywhere except Antarctica, the Arctic Circle, some islands, like Ireland and New Zealand, and on tall mountains where it’s too cold for them to survive.
  • What do snakes eat? Smaller snakes eat rodents such as mice and rats; frogs and insects. Larger snakes eat larger prey, like squirrels, rabbits or birds. Some  snakes eat other snakes and lizards.

Chart of Non-venomous Snake Facts
Nearly two-thirds of the 2,500 to 3,000 snake species in the world are non-venomous.
Non-venomous snakes only bite for three reasons; you’ve recently handled something that smells like its food (like your pet gerbil), if it thinks you’re a predator, or when it’s afraid.
Snakes can only see heat and movement, and hear only low frequencies such as vibrations on the ground.
Typically,  venomous snakes have a triangle shaped head, and non-venomous snakes have a rounded head. But there are exceptions, like the coral snake, so if you’re not sure it’s best to leave a snake alone.
The eyes  of a non-venomous snake usually have round pupils, unlike venomous snakes which have elliptical “cat eyes”.
A snake can unhinge its bottom jaw to eat, they only have one lung, and they smell with their tongue.
Male snakes have longer tails. Female snakes have shorter tails shaped somewhat like a carrot.
Snakes can range in size from as small as a worm, to as long as a school bus.

Books to Read

The Snake Scientist (Scientists in the Field Series)
by Sy Montgomery and Nic Bishop (educational)

DK Readers: Slinky, Scaly Snakes (Level 2: Beginning to Read Alone)
by Jennifer Dussling (educational)

Snake Camp (A Stepping Stone Book)
by George Edward Stanley (entertainment to quell fear of snakes)

Hide and Snake
by Keith Baker (encourages imagination)

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