Snake tends to be low. Low stance work, low foot work and sinking power. It uses the spear hand/palm (I think that is generic term). Other hand strikes tend to be finger tip strikes such as the snake tongue, secret sword, and snake strike. Since building and focusing Chi are essential, the main difference in the two finger strikes is what the other fingers are doing to help pump the chi. The physical power for these strikes is focused through the whipping of the spine.
As an animal variation, it limits the practitioner in foot and hand strokes so as to maximize power and tactical advantage. Since the spear hand is the primary weapon, all targets are soft. Power is still the formost thought with damage being done, the test. The targets become the throat and the groin. As the power usable with the spear hand increases, other targets open up. As the precision increases the throat, groin, and eyes become major targets, since you can hit them at will. Other targets are ignored and even when pressure points are added they are all glancing blows on the way in to the throat and groin. While many styles consider pressure points very advanced, snake trains them to test the focus and chi. The goal is to be so focused that pressure points are no longer necessary. At the master level, the throat, groin, and eyes once again become the only targets. The snake stylist will often limit themselves further to fighting with one hand.
The stance work is lower to minimize potential targets and is set back for distance. This has the effect of making the opponent extend to strike. If you are attacking someone; the throat, groin, or both have to be open. This is even more apparent against the snake style. And seriously, if you want to hit the throat and/or groin; why wouldn't you stand where it is easy to hit? Another benefit of the low long stance is the ease with which you can cover distance in one step. This makes placement a controllable skill rather than lucky.
Building Chi is also a major part of the style. While some schools make due with one or two chi kungs and some basic meditation, this is not enough for snake. Each strike becomes its own mudra meditation with a hand position having a weapon, organ and specific targets on the opponent. Iron palm becomes a component of every movement with forms being trained slow until the energy is felt and then speed changes until the most powerful coordination is found.
There are no basic ground fighting or wrestling in the snake techniques because of the throat and groin. to attempt to grapple with a snake stylist without breaking the arms and legs first would be suicide. The snake style does have throws, however they don't use any grabbing or other wrestling moves for the throw. It would get in the way of hitting the throat. Joint locks are used, but only to set up the throat/groin strike. Kicks are only targeted to the throat and groin , like the hands. The stances ,which in kung fu are considered kicks or leg strokes, are used to disrupt the stances of the opponent and also step on the opponent to keep him/her still for the strike. While ground fighting exists at the advanced levels, it is used to build more power while in a stance and fight people who won't get up or insist on crawling away.
The favorite weapons of Snake are Staff, Spear, Double Two Headed Spear, Straight Sword, Double Daggers, Judges Pens, All flexible weapons.
The tactics of Snake, with or without weapons, is to wait for the opponent to attack. This ,in theory, will open the throat/groin/both for attack, which are believed to be superior targets. To do this Snake will usually expose the front leg, throat, or ribs. This makes conditioning those parts a priority for this animal style. The Iron Palm of this style tends to be more internal, in training and damage caused. The Throat Kung can be considered a requirement.
At the highest levels, the snake stylist is untouched, unhindered, unseen, and strikes softly from anywhere to anywhere. Silent and invisible death.