How do snakes eat?

If you have ever seen a snake eat it’s pray, you’ll know it’s a sight to behold. Just recently a video went viral here in Australia, which showed a snaked on a telephone wire capturing a big bird and swallowing it whole. It leaves many people wondering exactly how a snake can fit something so large into its mouth and body.

Most mammals and reptiles have a skull and a lower jaw bone which are fused together. This means that the range of movement that the jaw can make is very limited. However, a snakes jaw is made of three pieces, which are held together by flexible tendons, muscles and ligaments. This difference allows each side of the jaw to move independently of each other, making it much more flexible.

The snake jaw is actually able to open up to 150 degrees, which allows for them to swallow things much bigger than them. Once the jaw is open, the snake’s teeth then attach to the food whilst they secrete saliva to lubricate the food. One side at a time, the jaw then moves over the food. The digestive system then takes over and pulls the food down.

Feeding your snake at home is usually pretty easy. Small snakes will generally eat mice their whole lives, where larger snakes will move onto rats. If you don’t like to feed your snake living animals, it is just perfectly acceptable to feed pre-killed frozen rodents. Just be sure to fully thaw the rodent first.

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