Similarities Between Snakes and Worms
Both snakes and worms are animals that do not have any limbs. Many varieties of each live in most areas of the world, in the ocean and on land. While the bodies of the two types of animal are similar, it is quite easy to tell them apart. Snakes are reptiles with bones, teeth and scales, while worms are invertebrates whose bodies are made up of a head and a digestive tract.
Identifying A Snake
There are 2,400 species of snakes that range in size from six inches to 30 feet. Two hundred seventy snakes are venomous and of these, the bites of 25 species can be fatal to humans. The best way to tell that a long limb-less animal is a snake is to examine it to see if it has a skull supporting a head with eyes, and a mouth containing a tongue and teeth. Worms do not have these facial features.
If the body is covered by dry scales which can be either rigid or smooth, it is a snake, not a worm. Snakes also have vertebrae running along their backs, to which pairs of rib bones connect. These bones protect the snake's internal organs: heart, lung, liver, kidneys, stomach and intestines.
Identifying A Worm
Worms, on the other hand do not have any bones, being invertebrates. There are thousands of different worm species that can be organized into four main groups: flatworms, roundworms, ribbon worms and segmented worms, which are the most likely to be confused for snakes. Earthworms, leeches, and tangleworms are all segmented worms. The segments of earthworms are covered with tiny stiff retractable bristles which are visible under a magnifying glass.
Earthworms also secrete a mucous that makes them moist to the touch. Snakes feel dry to the touch. Tangleworms live at the seashore and look like yellow-green earthworms. While the color of these worms may remind someone of a common grass snake, they lack the scales, bone, and other snake features. Clearly, they belong to the worm family.