How Snakes Eat Their Prey


How can a snake, with no arms, no legs, and a small mouth, consume a whole rat? In some cases, even a whole pig!? What do snakes even eat?

Before we can cover how they eat, we must first cover how they find prey. They do this by flicking out their tongue to taste the air. Some snakes have a sensory ear bone called a columella that helps them detect vibrations. A heat sensing pit near their eyes that allows them to detect warmth emanating out of prey.

A common method to kill prey would be to constrict the prey to suffocate it. Some snakes will use venom or poison to kill. Snakes have a flexible jaw that allows the mouth to fit prey in. Snakes have hook shaped teeth to help push food down. Depending on the temperature of the snake, digestion usually takes 3-5 days. The temperature matters because a snake is cold-blooded, meaning its body temperature is influenced by the temperature around it.

Some examples of what snakes eat include rodents, birds, eggs, insects, frogs, and in some cases, even other snakes. If the snake is large, they may eat monkeys, pigs, deer, etc.

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This relates to engineering because the way a snake eats is directly related to its jaw structure, teeth structure, fangs, type of venom/poison, etc. The unique functions of these parts can allow us to make an innovation or invention based on it.