How do snakes climb trees?

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How do snakes climb trees?

BJ Anderson

Votes: 7235

Renee, snakes climb trees by two methods, the main method is the concertina motion while the other is looping around the whole trunk with a small circumference tree.

In the concertina motion as most Thamnophis (rat snakes), Lampropeltis (king snakes) and even the timber rattler perform; they climb vertically utilizing their gastrosteges (the enlarged and transversely elongated ventral scales) to gain friction on the bark of the tree. Then in accordion fashion inch their body upwards by curling the upper half of the body while the rear half is anchored then released to gain height. It then curls the bottom half of the body as an anchor again to push the upper half forward. These steps are repeated until it reaches the objective height. The process is done through friction and can be conducted even on a wall if the wall is not too small.

The other method in looping is usually conducted by the more bulkier and muscular snakes as boas and pythons, where they anchor the anterior and posterior ends of the body then loop the the middle part of the body around the trunk, much like slapping a chain around a pole bringing the loops forward.

David Kirshner

Votes: 666

For trees with large trunks the snakes will often climb up by zig-zagging their body while gripping the bark with their belly scales. Once they reach a narrower branch that is more horizontal than vertical they’ll use the same serpentine movement used to move across the ground but with the loops going on either side …

Francine H.

Votes: 3005

Can a snake climb a tree?

Most snakes are good climbers and can climb trees. In fact , some live in trees and their coloring provides them camouflage among branches and leaves. But there are blind snakes that live mostly underground that cannot climb trees and there are of course sea snakes that only live in water.


Votes: 1949

Snakes climb trees by gripping with their bodies.

First they locate the tree convieniently I have a photo of my ball python reared up looking around near a tree.

Then if they decide to climb the tree they look for a suitable way to access the tree. Again this can be shown how by my ball python.

Then then grip firmly and haul a bit more of themselves up. In the above photo that’s why mine has a slight coil in his neck area so he can haul himself up. In the next photo you can see my ball python modelling how a snake balances on a branch by having small coils over each side of the branch.

The snake then looks around and decides where it wants to go and what they want to do in that tree.

Once they have done so they usually get on with whatever they wanted to do which for my pet was to sit coiled up on a branch.

I would like to point out that he wasn’t harmed and the correct temperatures and humidity were present while these photos were taken and I did not force him to climb or in any way stage these photos other than letting him do what he felt like doing.

Votes: 8019

The same way they move on horizontal surfaces, through the use of their ventral scales and muscular contractions. The motion in a vertical direction is done through a concertina movement. The snake seeks a spot above them that they can grip with their belly scales. Once anchored at that point they then contract the muscles below that grip to pull the lower part of their bodies upward. They continue in this manner seeking ever higher bark ridges or branches to support their forward progress.

Barret Joseph Bird

Votes: 8086

Thanks for A2A, Rae. As many people have said, the scales on the snakes belly act like Velcro in combination with tree bark.

I just wanted to add that large snakes like reticulated pythons and boas will mostly coil around branches as this uses less energy, but they are capable of a straight, vertical climb despite their weight.

Here is a cute video I found of a baby boa trying to climb a tree. I can’t resist baby animals on you tube!

Patrick Edwin Moran

Votes: 2398

If you have to get down from a high window and only have one rope, you will wrap it around your body and/or one of your arms enough times to give you enough friction that you can descend slowly.

Snakes use the same kind of friction, wrapping themselves tightly around branches, to make their way up vertical trunks.

Brian Yankee

Votes: 5808

Can snakes climb trees?

Some but not all snakes can climb trees. These include western rat snakes in the US and brown tree snakes from the south pacific

Peter Todaro

Votes: 1981

Yes they can, by wrapping around branches and wedging their bodies against edges.

Many pythons are agile climbers, they feed on birds roosting in trees at night.

Tree snakes eat lizards and frogs and birds eggs out of the nests.

Holly Cheel

Votes: 1850

Snakes really are amazing creatures. In spite of the fact that they can’t run down their prey, or subdue it with claw or teeth, have no limbs or appendages to help them in their environment, they have existed since the beginning of time and do very well in their habitats.

If you look at the belly of a snake, you’ll notice that it’s composed of scales which slightly overlap each other. The snake has tremendous control over the muscles in it’s body and as it moves along the snake applies pressure to each scale which will cling, then release, from the surface. At the same time, the snake is able to wrap it’s body around various branches, rough bark etc., and propel itself forward. Their long, linear bodies are actually adept at handling almost any terrain although each species may fare better in specific habitats.

Some species like boas and larger pythons will actually ambush prey by dropping on it from the lower branches of trees, while other species like the Emerald tree boa and others are arboreal and spend most of their time in trees hunting small birds, and raiding their nests for eggs and hatchlings.

Jo Daneman

Votes: 6447

It’s not easy but they grip the bark of the tree with the scales under their belly. The scales go in one direction and they can get sort of a purchase on the trunk as they push up the tree, because the scales hold them on the bark, like a rachet.

Mariah Healey

Votes: 3443

It depends on the snake and the tree. Smaller snakes can climb trees with rough bark just by using their belly scales to “grip” the bark and propel themselves upward. Larger snakes have to get a little more creative, wrapping all the way around the tree to create an anchor, extending upward, and then wrapping again.

Example of a large snake (reticulated python) climbing:

Example of a small snake (corn snake) climbing:

Tuvi Voorhees

Votes: 1237

Can a snake climb a tree easily?

Many can. I would actually argue that all snakes can climb a tree if they need to, but not all are fond of it. They also don’t all do it in the same exact way. Some will constrict around the tree and inch up while others will use their scales as climbing cleats. There are arboreal snakes that spend a lot of their time in trees, but even a snake that is primarily a ground dweller can end up in a tree ….especially if they are hungry and are going after prey…

John Bedus

Votes: 8755

Can a snake climb a tree easily?

Most snakes I observed are very Adept climbers except for maybe the larger ones anacondas but I’ve seen and heard a reticulated pythons that climb, hey there’s an awful lot of snakes that are a boreal or tree climbers by Nature.

Cassandra Dellos

Votes: 8776

Snakes use there muscular force to climb trees. They create force by wrapping themselves around the tree. But they also use there scales to help them climb giving them a extra advantage.

Mystery Solved: How Snakes Climb Trees

Donna Fernstrom

Votes: 4820


Anacondas usually don’t — they’re semi-aquatic.

But it happens. 🙂

Karen J Gray

Votes: 9952

They use their belly scales to do it, mostly. The scales can be lifted and dropped, and will grab onto most small imperfections in tree bark, which allows the snake to move upward.

Snakes can also twine their muscular bodies around things and help themselves climb that way too. Snakes are extremely strong and muscular for their size and their general athletic abilities are quite impressive.

Matthew Mann

Votes: 9582

What animals can’t climb trees?

Vijyu R

Votes: 6235

Surely the snakes can manage to climb upon the thorny trees and shrubs if required. It would be easy for the thinner and slender snakes as they could escape from the thorns and spines, but for the bigger and fatter snakes like Anacondas and Pythons, it could be trouble and they might get pricked, and can get hurt in the process.

This is the close up image of an Acacia tree :

I found an Indian article upon the Rat Snake :

The Rat snake has climbed up the top of the Acacia tree with spines and thorns in between.

In the jungle and forests, there will be lots of wild thorny and spiny shrubs and trees, and the wild, untamed snakes can get to climb upon or slither below them for obtaining protection from their enemies and they can also relax upon such trees and take rest if required.

This is in Kenya, a rare, lethal, boomslang snake upon the Acacia tree :

Courtesy of :

Jason Hodge

Votes: 7801

I was a professional tree climber for my dad’s tree services. It was started by my grandfather in 1948 and is now owned/operated by my older brother.

While there is no good or evil to tree climbing of itself, there is the possibility of harm, the reality of pleasure, and the necessity of maintenance.

The day I got out of school my 6th grade year, I fell out of a tree in our back yard because a bully threw rocks and struck me in the ankle. I spent a week in the hospital and he spent the summer in the dog house! As we were mostly a tree-faring family, we mostly blamed the bully, …and the rock.

My dad gave a doctor an estimate to remove some dead hickory trees from his backyard, down a steep embankment. No trucks could reach the trees, so they’d have to be climbed and cut manually by “climbers”, and hauled out by hand. It’s much slower, manual work, thus more expensive. My dad gave him an estimate 3 times but the wealthy doctor never pulled the trigger on the job. A couple years later, we read in the local paper that the tops of one of those dead trees had snapped off and struck his son, killing him.

The answer to this question will differ depending on who you ask. And even if you word it identically, each person will be answering a different question.

David Simpson

Votes: 9867

They can’t actually fly – but they can glide…

There are a number of species of ‘flying’ snake that inhabits areas of South East Asia – called Chrysopelea…

The term ‘flying’ snake is slightly inaccurate. The species flattens out its ribcage, and uses the extra surface area to glide from one place to another.

It quite often uses the technique to escape predators – even though it is mildly venomous.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Caiden Feldman

Votes: 3229

Leopards are amongst the best climbers of any Cats. Not only can they climb trees, they often bring their prey up with them to keep away from lions, hyenas and other scavengers.

While Lions and Cheetahs have been seen occasionally climbing trees, the Leopard is the only cat who can bring its prey(often weighing more then the Leopard itself) up where it can eat in peace.

The Leopards climbing adaptations years ago giving them immense strength in their shoulders and forelimbs, as well as pointy claws. This has greatly impacted the Leopard population as they have continued to survive and adapt to more places then any other big cat.

Girija Devi

Votes: 3322

Ceder tree

All the cedar trees have cedar shaped leaves which is very much liked by the snakes, and altogether, their fragrance is much loved by the snakes.

In case you want to keep away the snakes from your yard, you can also consider planting snake repellent plants that provide a natural deterrent. Some common examples include marigold…

Damian Dörhoff

Votes: 830

Darien Cunningham

Votes: 417

Can cows climb trees?

No they cant, unless the tree was tilted or something and they were just walking on the tree, although it would have to be a pretty big tree for the cow to fit on. But that is walking, not climbing. You try climbing with hooves. Its “nearly” impossible

Serge Elia

Votes: 2130

Do hyenas climb trees?

Actually, hyenas don’t climb trees AT ALL. It would be impossible for them. Their body design is built for immense bone-crushing power and endurance, but their legs are completely inadequate and their front paws are ill-adapted to climb trees, unlike big cats, especially leopards, which are masters in tree-climbing (see below).

If a hyena attempted to climb a tree in order to steal a leopard’s kill, it would be rather clumsy in the attempt, resulting in a hilarious failure.

Peter Kaye

Votes: 9285

Where do tree snakes live?

Actually it’s not what one would think, they actually don’t ‘live’ anywhere in particular, they just keep moving about looking for prey. We have three snakes in Australia classified as tree snakes and only one would spend more time in trees than on the ground and that is the green tree python in northern Queensland, the other two the brown and green tree snakes actually spend a lot of time on the ground, I have caught both the brown tree snake was just on the ground, and the little green tree snake got stuck in my bird aviary, I used to breed gouldian finches and the little green tree snake go

Dudla Jyothi

Votes: 293

Why does a snake like to climb trees?

Snakes climb by bending and flexing the entire length of their tubular bodies. Their glossy bellies may look unsuited for climbing, but they slide over coarse tree bark. Had they been rough, they would cause friction and slow the reptiles’ progress. Tree trunks range from smooth to rough.

The snakes may decide to climb the trees so that they may catch the prey or they may escape the predators.

Donna Fernstrom

Votes: 6249

Can wolves climb trees?

If the tree has enough branches and is leaning over some, yes. They can’t climb straight up a trunk, but with sufficient support, they can certainly climb.

Frank O. Mandrack

Votes: 8697

How do snakes climb vertically?

How do snakes climb vertically?

Actually snakes climb vertically with horizontal moves.

As when it is going straight up a straight tree the snake is not in a straight line itself, but is seen doing “S” movements with its entire body, as it goes up (or down).

Now this guy is an exception, as he does not like to do the “S”, but prefers the “N”, “V”, or “Z” approach to gain altitude. Must be a snake-college graduate, obviously highly educated for using so many different letters. And the only one here, that chose to blend in with the background. Smart Snake!

Some Stealthy Smart SnakeS Slither So Silen

Shane Angell

Votes: 2706

Do snakes climb trees and rocks?


Linda Am

Votes: 2996

How does a snake climb a tall tree?

A snake uses its incredibly strong, flexible body and thousands of friction points privided by their scales to wind themselves up a tree.

Frank Nichols

Votes: 5009

Is it a good idea to climb a tree if a snake chases us?

A snake is not going to chase you. It may come in the direction you are standing, but it is only seeking the safest route it sees to retreat.. If you encounter a snake, just slowly back away, the more distance you put between yourself and the snake the safer it feels, will slowly come out of defensive mode and slither away.. Me on the other hand will catch it, pester, admire, and reluctantly release.

The only snakes I keep now are rescues, and adoptees. There are so many snakes that need permanent homes from reptile rescues, yet people buy from the chain pet stores?? Usually on a whim and the c

Christian Schaefer

Votes: 4596

Can venomous snakes climb trees?

Here are some examples of venomous snakes that are known to climb trees:

Ryan Payne

Votes: 2752

Should we climb the tree to avoid a snake that chases us?

No, you should try waking up- you’re clearly asleep in bed having a nightmare. No snake chases people.

Some flee towards you if you are between it and a hiding spot. Some advance towards you to make you back off, but will stop if you stop. But none actively chase.

Herbert Humphries

Votes: 7671

Where do brown tree snakes live?

Guam… the island is full of them. I couldn’t walk to my friends without encountering one.

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