Snakes do things in a very unusual way most of the time. They eat by swallowing their food whole and then digesting it. They don’t have eyelids so they can’t blink, and they don’t sense pain in a lot of things that would send human beings screaming into the night. It is easy to see how they have become one of the most easily misunderstood animals.
One of those areas is related to if snakes smell and how do snakes smell their environment. This is a good question because you can have confidence in the fact that it will be unusual and that is the case.
First of all, it should be noted that this is not a frivolous question. Snakes only have one way to communicate with another and that is through the pheromones that they release. These are chemicals that a snake releases into the surrounding environment that do two primary things: warn other snakes to stay away, and tell snakes of the opposite sex that they are ready to breed.
These are obviously two very important things to know if you are another snake. If you are a female snake who is looking to find a male to breed with, then it would be important to know that there are other male snakes around in which to breed with. Not being able to smell the pheromones removes the ability to know this and so smelling is quite vital.
Secondly, if you are a snake is not ready to battle a large and dangerous challenger, and then knowing that a potentially dangerous snake is around is important to know as well. This can keep you out of danger, if you are a snake that is, but it can also tell you if you need to know that there may be a snake to battle. If you are a snake and you think that this is a prime territory to control, you want to know if there are any other snakes around, and so having a sense of smell is important to prepare for battle.
Now the odd part, the snake is able to smell using special sensors that are in its tongue. That sounds really odd, and it is, but that is how they are able to accomplish the smelling process. When a snake sticks its tongue out, it is not looking to hiss or do anything else unusual. No, its primary purpose is to smell. This is how they do it.
When the tongue is out, it grabs particles out of the air. Those particles are then brought into the mouth where a special gland senses the particles on the tongue. This is how they smell and how they are able to communicate with one another.
Read more: Snake Control
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, How to Identify Snakes
, How to Kill Snakes