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How do snakes eat?

No matter what kind of animal you are talking about, they all have to eat, and snakes are no exception. They must consume food to be able to survive. It is just a fact of life.

However, eating food is a lot different process for a snake than it is for a large number of the animals on the earth. Many animals can use their limbs to help them to tear apart and even serve themselves the food. However, like a fish, a snake must take in the food whole. It has no appendages and does not have a huge series of teeth like a shark. So it must basically take in the whole meal and then work its way from there.

That sounds quite unappetizing for most human beings. Consider that no one would take a one-pound steak and swallow it whole, waiting for their body to digest it. Well, let’s hope no one would. However, this is the life that a snake must follow. If it is going to get food it is really its only choice.

So how do snakes eat then if this is what they must do?

Well a snake is able to do some really unusual things to be able to eat. To eat food, the snake must actually take the entire animal into its body to begin the digestion process. This means that two things are very important. First, it must be able to fit into the snake’s mouth and, secondly, it must be able to be digested by the snake. This is not as hard of a process as you may think.

First, a snake is able to expand its mouth fairly wide open. It cannot dislodge its jaws as a common myth proposes, but is able to expand its mouth large enough that the snake can take a food into its mouth that is much larger than you would think.

Secondly, a snake can expand its stomach to get quite large. This allows it take it food that it four or five times larger than the snake is in diameter. You have heard of someone having an elastic stomach? Well, this is the ultimate example of that. The snake can do amazing things because of its ability to expand its stomach.

Once inside the digest tract, the juices and enzymes begin to do their work. Keep in mind that this is not like a carwash of enzymes spraying across the lump. This is a very slow process, meaning it can take quite some time before the meal is completely digested. If this was a large animal that it took in then this may also mean that the snake will be immobilized for the most part as it cannot really moved well with this big piece of food in its stomach. Read more: Snake Control, Venomous Snakes of Florida, How to Identify Snakes, How to Kill Snakes.

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