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Animal Adaptations and Survival

by Mandy Barrow

Homework Index
Desert Animals
Desert Tortoise
Fennec Fox
Saguaro Cactus
Tropical Grassland
Arctic Conditions
Polar Bears
Small-eared zorro
Other Creatures


How are large snakes such as pythons able to swallow prey that is bigger than their own heads?

It's because their jaws are adapted to do so.

The bones of their mouth are loosely joined to their skulls. A stretchy strip of tissue called a ligament holds together the two halves of the lower jaw.

When the snakes swallow their prey, their mouths can stretch wide open. The lower jawbones spread apart and each bone moves separately to pull the prey into the mouth.

Snakes usually swallow their prey headfirst which causes the prey's legs to fold back, making it more streamlined and easier to swallow.

The teeth of most snakes also curve backward which prevents the prey wiggling out. As snakes work their food down their throats, their windpipes displace themselves which means that the snakes can keep breathing while they are swallowing.

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I teach computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.