November 28, 2022

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Snakes can swallow almost anything. Scientists know how this is possible

Integrative Organism Biology has published an article explaining why Burmese pythons, considered one of the longest snakes in the world, are able to swallow up to 6 times as many prey as snakes of similar size.

The Burmese python is one of two subspecies of the tiger python. You can meet him among others in Southeast Asia and Southern China. Snakes in this subspecies reach amazing sizes. Some specimens measure up to 5 meters in length, weigh more than 90 kilograms, and can swallow almost anything. in the latest studyFeatured in Integrative Biology, researchers set out to investigate how to achieve this.

Burmese pythons can swallow almost anything

Experts note that Burmese pythons have developed a unique feature that allows their jaws to extend wide enough to swallow prey up to six times as much as snakes of similar size can. This is possible due to the large amount of soft tissue in the lower jaw. The lower bones of the lower jaw also help, since they are not fused but loosely connected by an elastic ligament. In practice, this means highly stretched skin, adapted to the size of the swallowed victim.

In the course of the study, the scientists compared their observations of Burmese pythons with analyzes of wild brown mangroves. These tree snakes are found, among others, in Australia, Western Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. It turns out that these small snakes, which hunt mainly birds, do not have such flexible jaws.

One of the study’s authors, an evolutionary biologist from the University of Cincinnati-Bruce Jane, who was cited by the Science Alert website, noted that the larger the body size snakes It allows them to enrich their list with different samples. It also helps them stay away from food meant for other predators. Jain added, “When these snakes reach a reasonable size, only crocodiles can eat them. And alligators eat snakes.”

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Karolina Modzilowska, journalist at Wirtualna Polska