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Anybody who has ever seen an American coachwhip or black mamba flee as soon as it is being approached knows it: snakes can be ridiculously fast despite their lack of limbs. No snake can outcrawl a black mamba - these highly dangerous snakes are known to be able to crawl (better yet, fly!) almost up to 20 km per hour over short distances, that's more then 5 meter per second, whoooohoo that's insanely fast!
So how exactly do they move forward? Most snakes move forward by pushing themselves off against the ground. But some snakes have found themselves in need for some more specialized movements, like sidewinders – small rattlesnakes from the desert regions in Southwestern United States. They need to minimize contact with the often extremely hot sand when they move around, so in order to do so they make sure that only two parts of the body are in passing contact with the ground, while the remainder accelerates, and they move sideways. It is a very efficient way of moving around in the desert when you have no limbs! Big, stocky snakes like pythons and boas move forward more like a caterpillar does, their bodies can´t bend so easily, so they move forward in a straight line. Their belly scales are lifted up, placed forward, lifted up, placed forward, like a caterpillar. This is extraordinarily slow but very useful for ambushing prey by a stealthy approach and avoiding being detection by predators!