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Animal Adaptations and Survival

by Mandy Barrow

 
Homework Index
Introduction
Desert Animals
Camels
Desert Tortoise
Fennec Fox
Saguaro Cactus
Tropical Grassland
Giraffes
Lions
Lizards
Arctic Conditions
Penguins
Polar Bears
Dolphins
Frogs
Snakes
Small-eared zorro
Other Creatures

Snakes

How are large snakes such as pythons able to swallow prey that is bigger than their own heads?

It's because their jaws are adapted to do so.

The bones of their mouth are loosely joined to their skulls. A stretchy strip of tissue called a ligament holds together the two halves of the lower jaw.

When the snakes swallow their prey, their mouths can stretch wide open. The lower jawbones spread apart and each bone moves separately to pull the prey into the mouth.

Snakes usually swallow their prey headfirst which causes the prey's legs to fold back, making it more streamlined and easier to swallow.

The teeth of most snakes also curve backward which prevents the prey wiggling out. As snakes work their food down their throats, their windpipes displace themselves which means that the snakes can keep breathing while they are swallowing.

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I teach computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.