Tag Archives: snakes

How Snakes Smell

Ever wonder what’s going on inside a snakes head when he’s flicking that crazy forked tongue in and out? Well, Enzoology has a couple answers for you! There is no animal that smells like a snake. It’s crazy!

The snake flicks it’s tongue in and out capturing scent molecules.

There are two openings on the roof of the snake’s mouth. They lead to a very sensitive spot called the Jacobson’s organ. The snake touches its tongue to this organ, rubbing off the scents it has collected. The organ checks out the smells and sends a message to the brain. Then the snake knows if a meal, mate, or enemy is nearby.

But why is the tongue forked? So the snake can smell “in stereo”! Each point on the tip of the tongue fits into one of the openings to the Jacobson’s organ. If the odor is stronger on one side, the snake can tell which direction the odor is coming from. This comes in handy for tracking prey, following the trail of a mate, or finding the way to a den where other snakes are gathering for the winter.

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African Ball Python

I just got an African Ball Python! I named him Slither and he was caught wild in Africa. He’s really pretty and loves to be handled. He also likes eating mice – he can’t seem to get enough of them! Some of my friends are afraid of him but they don’t need to be – he’s really tame and never bites. Right now he’s shedding his skin – that is so weird!

African Ball Python Facts

The Ball Python is one of the smallest of the African pythons. It is a constrictor which means it suffocates its prey.

Ball Pythons can live 20 to 30 years! The record is 47 years!

They don’t usually bite – instead they coil into a tight ball. They can really put the squeeze on you!

They can be found in west and central Africa.

Ball Pythons have heat sensing pits on their face between their nose and mouth.

They eat all kinds of small rodents and birds.

Pythons are nocturnal – during the day they hide in burrows made by other animals.  Then they ambush their prey.

Ball Pythons can get up to 5 feet long!

They have about 100 teeth that are curved inward so prey can’t escape. Then, they swallow it whole!

Because of their beautiful skin, ball python populations are declining.

Some people get boa constrictors and pythons confused. But pythons have one more bone in their heads and more teeth.

The biggest difference is that pythons lay eggs while boas give birth to live young.

Pythons are great swimmers and spend a lot of time in the water.

Snakes bask in the sun to regulate their temperature because they are cold blooded. Cold blooded means that their body temperature is the same as the air in its environment. If they get too hot or too cold, they can die.