Which snake chases other snakes Why

snakes

A success story of nature

From an evolutionary point of view, snakes are very old animals that have conquered almost all habitats on earth. Various forms of adaptation and a whole series of special sensory organs created the conditions for the worldwide spread of reptiles.

Perhaps the snakes' special abilities are also to blame for the fact that many people find them scary, disgusting or insidious.

"Sensitive" snakes

A snake has no external ears. But if she puts her head on the ground, she can see a prey that is several kilometers away. The victim's movements create vibrations in the ground, which the snake perceives through its lower jaw. As in other vertebrates, these sound waves are translated into nerve impulses in the inner ear and passed on to the brain.

Everyone has seen a flickering snake at some point. The typically split tongue is used to capture odor molecules from the air and to convey them to the olfactory organ in the roof of the mouth, the so-called "Jacobson's organ".

This is how snakes sniff their prey. The olfactory organ also plays an important role when looking for a partner, because sex hormones are also perceived through the sense of smell.

Pit otters, some boas and pythons also have infrared receptors on their heads with which they can perceive the smallest differences in temperature. Warm-blooded prey such as mice, rats and other mammals reveal themselves just by their body temperature. With the help of this sense of warmth, the snake tracks down its prey with pinpoint accuracy even in absolute darkness, attacks and kills it.

Eat up with your skin and hair

Snakes always choke their prey whole and whole. Some snakes eat animals the size of a kangaroo or a wild boar, even adult humans are said to have disappeared into serpentine stomachs.

To choke down such a large chunk, the snake simply unhooks its lower jaw so that only the skin, esophagus and stomach have to withstand the enormous stretch. After a hearty meal, it can take several weeks for the prey to be digested and for the snake to hunt again.

In a deadly stranglehold

Almost all snakes kill their prey before devouring it. Just like giant boas and pythons, smaller snakes also use the choking technique. With lightning speed they grab with their mouths and pull their muscular bodies in coils around the victim - tighter and tighter, the stronger the victim defends itself.

Only when the victim's body goes limp does the snake loosen its stranglehold. It always devours its prey head first so that its limbs do not prevent it from eating. The majority of all snakes are strangler snakes, including all of our native snakes: the grass snake, the smooth snake, the dice snake and the Asculapian snake.

Overdose from the poison tooth

Venomous snakes produce their venom in a gland on the back of the head. If the snake bites, the poison is injected deep into the victim's wound through the two hollow fangs.

There are different types of poison. Sea snakes, mambas and cobras, for example, produce a neurotoxin that paralyzes and destroys the victim's nerve pathways. The amount of venom injected into the wound will determine whether the victim will die from the bite or whether it will get away unscathed.

Vipers, on the other hand, produce a tissue toxin that attacks the victim's organs and tissues and causes blood to clot. This poison leaves permanent damage even if the dose is not lethal.

Author: Pia Prasch