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How Do Snakes Find Their Food?

How Do Snakes Find Their Food?

Snakes are actually very good at sensing the world around them; they have to be in order to be such effective hunters. Before they can eat a tasy mouse or egg, they must find their food, and they do that using their well-developed forked tongues. Have you ever seen a snake flicking its tongue in

Snakes are actually very good at sensing the world around them; they have to be in order to be such effective hunters. Before they can eat a tasy mouse or egg, they must find their food, and they do that using their well-developed forked tongues.

Have you ever seen a snake flicking its tongue in and out of its mouth? That means it’s tasting the air! Any scent particles in the air stick to the snake’s tongue. When the snake brings its tongue back into its mouth, it pushes it up into a special organ in the roof of its mouth. This organ tells the snake everything it needs to know about what that smell means: whether it’s something good to eat, something to ignore, or a predator to be afraid of!

When the snake begins to smell the air, the forks of the tongue are close together. But if it smells something to eat, the forks spread apart. By figuring out which fork has the most scent particles on it, the snake knows which direction its prey is in.

When the snake gets close to its prey, it has another useful way of figuring out where it’s hiding. Many snakes, including the pythons, boas, and pit vipers, have deep pits lining their upper jaws,. These pits are actually heat sensing organs! If a predator or prey is hidden to the eye, the snake can still sense the heat they give off and know whether to attack or run away!

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