Snakes have been around for more than 164 million years, with the oldest fossil snake found in southern England—a small stem-snake (Eophis underwoodi) from around 167 million years ago.
Although snakes have been around for millennia, people usually view snakes with some sort of emotional charge. People love them, hate them, fear them or even bring them into their worship services (hello, snake handlers in churches). It's hard not to feel some sort of strong emotions about serpents—and it's because humans have a long history of folklore with these animals.
Snakes are seen dualistically as good and evil. For the good, snakes' regenerative powers (via shedding their skin) are seen in some cultures as life-affirming. There's the Rod of Asclepius, for the Greek god of healing and medicine Asclepius, which is a symbol of one snake on a staff.
But then there's the caduceus, which has two serpents entwined on a winged staff. Although the American medical field has also adopted this sign to represent medicine, it's probably in confusion with the Rod of Asclepius. The caduceus has many associations including wisdom and negotiation, but also lying and thievery.
Whether you fear, loathe or love it, the snake has and will continue to play an important part in our culture and history as a human species.
So are you ready to sidewind yourself into this serpentine quiz about the oft-misunderstood snake? We hope you have fun! Good luck!