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Do Snakes Have Bones?

Snaked have 3 types of bones. The skull, jawbone, and backbone, as the picture above.

How Many Bones Does a Snake Have?

Snakes can have 600 to 1800 bones depending on how young or old and depending on the species. Most snakes have 10 bones in the skull and the jaw. They may vary in the number of ribs and vertebrae which run through the entire length of the snake.

 

Bigger and longer snakes may have more bones. A snake that is 10 cm long can have about 200 to 300 vertebrae and corresponding rib bones. A large snake measuring 7 meters long like a full-grown python can have up to 600 vertebrae which translates to a total 0f 1800 bones.

 

This is a lot of bones compared to humans who have 206 bones for an adult human body. Despite so many bones, snakes can move with graceful fluidity because they can curve their bodies sideways to push themselves forward.

This movement is possible because of how the bones work with the snake’s muscles. Strong muscles allow for rapid serpentine movements assisted by scales that help the snake grip surfaces so it can move forward.

 

Do snakes have teeth?

Snakes have teeth whether venomous or not. Snakes often have six rows of teeth along the upper and lower jaws which can run up to 200 teeth overall. Human adults teeth on the other hand only number around 32.

 

Snakes can also grow more teeth as needed. Snake teeth are often hooked-shape and tend to angle inwards toward the throat. Poisonous snakes also have fangs that can be grooved or hollow. Depending on the species, fangs can be found on the front or the back of the mouth. Unlike other animals that use teeth for chewing or breaking apart food, snakes use their teeth to draw food inside the mouth.

 

There are some snakes that are known to have very few teeth. These include the Garter snake and egg-eating snakes common in Africa. These snakes often have very tiny teeth or the teeth are located at the back of the jaws which means they are not readily visible.

 

Teeth or no teeth, snakes have no trouble ingesting prey. Poisonous snakes can easily swallow smaller animals like mice and rats after incapacitating them with venom. Constrictor snakes can ingest larger animals with ease because they can dislocate their jaws to make way for big prey. The teeth help grip prey as the movement of the mouth and tongue move the food towards the back of the throat and into the snake’s gut.

 

Do Snakes Have Legs?

Snakes do not have legs but they have evolved over centuries to move through other means. Unlike humans who have two legs, snakes have gradually lost their legs through evolution, as shown by fossils of prehstoric reptiles that have legs. Additional proof that snakes came from legged-ancestors can still be seen in the vestigial pelvic girdles and vestigial legs or spurs found in some pythons and boas.

Because they don’t have legs, snakes cannot stand upright. They instead crawl through different methods– rectilinear, lateral undulation, sidewinding, and concertina locomotion. Despite the lack of legs, snakes can move surprisingly fast. For example, the black mamba can move with up to speeds of 19 km/h. This unique body structure also makes it easy for snakes to climb on branches of trees, glide through fields of grass or water, and even jump from one branch to another.

Snakes are amazing creatures that are often misunderstood. While poisonous snakes definitely need careful handling, most snakes are harmless and play an important part in maintaining the natural ecological balance.

Most harmless snakes, for example, play a big role in keeping pest and rodent populations in check. From bones to the ability to glide on the ground with ease, snakes remain one of the most fascinating creatures in nature.

The way snakes flow and glide makes it seem like they don’t have bones but surprisingly, they do!