Many reptiles can chew their food, but snakes are an exception to this feeding habit. In place of this, they swallow their food whole and digest it without crushing a single bone with their teeth. Snakes are fierce hunters; they take down their prey by either injecting venom into the body of their prey or by constricting them. Either way, they make sure their prey is dead before swallowing it. These carnivores feed based on their size. Small snakes target small prey like rodents and frogs, while larger snakes like pythons won't hesitate to take down prey as large as an antelope. There are even some snakes that kill and feed on other snakes. For instance, king snakes attack other snakes both small and large and swallow them whole.
How do snakes swallow their food?
In order for snakes to swallow their food with ease, the jaw of snakes is specifically built for a brute force that aids swallowing. Their jaw is efficiently rigged with muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The fusion of these tissues gives the jaw of snakes an incredible gymnast's flexibility. With this, snakes can expand their mouth to any point in order to swallow their prey.
Despite swallowing prey much larger than its body size, the jaws of snakes never dislocate. This is mainly because the mouth of snakes has a rigid bone attached to its skull. This pair of bones move independently without the support of each other. In order for snakes to swallow their food without choking, the mouth of these fierce reptiles is composed of two mandibles. Each of these mandibles functions independently and is held in place by an elastic ligament which allows them to spread out while the snake is swallowing its prey. The digestive system of snakes is considered as one of the fastest. As the snake is swallowing its prey, it soaks it in saliva to aid fast digestion. The enzymes in the saliva degrade the flesh and bone of the prey within a short period. Depending on the size of the meal, it might take weeks or months for the snake to fully digest the animal. In some species of snakes, they usually vomit the bones and other parts of the prey that are indigestible. After doing that, they then look for other prey to feed on.
What do snakes feed on?
Snakes are not limited to a certain type of food. They feed on whatever comes their way. But in most cases, they prefer sizable meals that will last them for a long time. The following are some of the prey that snakes are usually after:
Rodents, squirrels, raccoons, birds, pigs, antelopes, and other snakes.
In conclusion, snakes are amazing to watch when they feed. Also, snakes are at their most vulnerable state when they feed. However, you need to keep your distance if you come across a snake and it is best to leave the snake alone.
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