I am not sure what this sentence actually means. Does it mean “All snakes are animals” or “Those snakes are animals (but not all snakes are).”?
The former makes more sense from a scientific point of view, the latter makes sense from a subjective point of view. (Those snakes are not animals, they’re demons.)
This sentence means "the snakes are animals".... I know it sounds weird, but through this sentence, we aren't teaching - if snakes are animals or not, but rather the definite articles and how they work in Romanian. The word "Șerpii" is equivalent to the English "the snakes" while "Șerpi" would be the English snakes... to say in Romanian "Snakes are animals" makes no sense whatsoever. It must be "The snakes are animals"... that's what is being taught through this sentence.
Thank you, that’s exactly what I suspected, but couldn’t know for sure.
Serbian, my native, language doesn’t have articles. (Змије су животиње.)
English doesn't use the definite article with plural nouns when talking about all members of a group (Snakes are animals; Dandelions are yellow.) except in some cases (The Chinese celebrate New Year in February.) German also doesn’t use the definite article in this context (Schlangen sind Tiere.)
However, all Romance languages I know use the definite article with plural nouns in this case (I serpenti sono animali.) It’s good to know how this works in Romanian. Perhaps, it might be a good thing to add to Tips Notes.