Unlike mammals, snakes are not built to chew their foods. Instead, they will devour their prey whole. Snakes are carnivorous; therefore, they will only eat meat. The way the snakes swallow their prey has always been a source of fascination to many. Any super-sized meal will not intimidate the snake. Compared to the jaw of the mammals designed to exert raw force, the snake jaw is filled with complex ligaments, tendons, and muscles that provide them with unparalleled flexibility.
How Do Snakes Eat Their Prey?
As opposed to the common misbelief, the jaw of the snake will not dislocate. They will remain connected throughout the feeding process. The lower jaws of the snake will move independently. Unlike humans, the mandibles of the snake are not connected by symphysis. It is attached through very elastic ligaments that allow their jaw to spread out. The mandibles are roughly linked to the skull's back area that provides them with better rotation. These exclusive features will make it possible for them to swallow prey larger than them. As long as it can fit their jaw, they can gradually move their food inside their bodies using their strong muscle.
How Do Snakes Digest Their Food?
Understand that swallowing their food is only the start of the process. They will still need to digest their food correctly. As mentioned above, snakes will not chew their food; therefore, they will need powerful digestive juices to dissolve them. The enzymes can disintegrate the outer part of their prey. It will take a while, and it is not surprising for the snakes to regurgitate partially digested prey. Snakes who habitually attack prey larger than their body size will take a while to digest their meal. They are also prone to some digestive problems. For instance, if the digestion process failed to outpace the putrefaction, the prey inside the snake's body may expand and cause a severe consequence on the animal's health. Luckily, pit vipers do not have to worry about this since they are armed with venom. It dissolves the protein that aids in the digestion process.
What Do Snakes Eat?
Different species of snakes will be attracted to different meals. There is no 'universal' type of diet among snakes. For instance, the egg-eating snake will only be interested in devouring the eggs of the animals. Their system is uniquely designed to break down the shell of the eggs after they swallow them. Some snakes will eat termites, bats, birds, worms, and fish. Some of them will be active hunters, while other snakes prefer to ambush their prey. For instance, the Eastern Indigo Snake is not a picky eater; they will eat any edible stuff that will fit inside their jaw; rattlesnakes, puppies, cats, rodents, tortoises, and frogs. Nonetheless, their diet will not include plant material. The snake's teeth are not designed for chewing plant material; plants will also not provide them with the protein they need.
Snakes will have a varied natural diet. It may include small amphibians, birds, and sometimes, prey larger than them. The long digestion process allows the snakes to survive without eating for weeks.
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