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This Amazon boa coils its strong body around its prey until this unlucky bird suffocates. Boa constrictors live mostly on the ground, but they can climb trees by gripping branches with their tails. Vipers, such as the Gaboon viper, kill their prey with a powerful poison from their fangs.

Snakes use their belly scales, called scutes, and their long, flexible bodies to move quickly across the ground or even up tree trunks. They hear by sensing vibrations, and smell by sticking out their forked tongues to catch scents in the air.

Photograph copyright Joe McDonald/CORBIS

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