(ORDO NEWS) — One of the most terrible snakes in the world are pythons. These creatures are not terrifying because of their poisonousness – their mouth opens so much that a snake can easily swallow a whole person or a large beast.
Especially dangerous are dark tiger pythons, whose body length reaches 5 meters, and body weight can be up to 75 kilograms.
Usually they live in Asian countries, but recently they have been found in American Florida and are a danger to local animals – they eat almost everything they see.
In this regard, scientists decided to find out how pythons manage to open their mouths so wide. The explanation for this existed earlier, but now researchers have become aware of more interesting details.
The most terrible snakes in the world
Many snakes are terrible because they can bite a person and kill him with their poison in a matter of minutes.
Unlike them, pythons are not poisonous, but have huge body sizes and deal with their victims in a terrifying way – they swallow them alive.
At the moment, science knows about the existence of 41 species of pythons, and all of them differ in size, color and habitat.
The largest pythons in the world are tiger pythons (Python bivittatus), which were studied in the course of recent scientific work.
The length of tiger pythons is on average 3.7 meters, but sometimes there are also 5-meter individuals. Myanmar, East India, Nepal, Vietnam and other countries with a warm climate are considered their homeland.
Tiger pythons often choose tropical forests, jungles, swamps and river valleys as their habitat. Recently, huge snakes have been found in Florida – it is believed that they were brought there by people.
Having given birth, they began to pose a threat to the wetlands of the Everglades. Because of their ability to swallow even large prey, tiger pythons eat not only birds, but also monkeys, crocodiles, and even monitor lizards.
In the course of the new scientific work, he and several of his colleagues decided to find out which of the anatomical features allows pythons to open their mouths strongly. The results are worthy of our attention.
How pythons swallow prey
To uncover the secret of pythons, scientists carefully studied their skull and skin. The fact that their lower jaw is divided in two and not fused has been known to researchers for a long time – this feature is present in many snakes.
Scientists also knew perfectly well that the skin of pythons and many other reptiles has elasticity, which not every animal can boast of.
The complex structure of the lower jaw and elastic skin – this is the secret of the amazing ability of pythons.
According to evolutionary biologist Bruce Jayne, the elasticity of python skin is many times greater than that of other snakes.
To prove this, the scientists compared the mouth opening width of tiger pythons with that of brown tree snakes (Boiga correctis).
The image below clearly shows that the mouth of pythons opens much more than that of another species of snake.
In itself, this discovery seems to be just another interesting fact that expands the horizons of a person. However, the authors of the scientific work believe that this is an important discovery for science.
First, researchers have proven that pythons have one big advantage over other snake species – they have more food choices.
If for some reason there are no small animals left in their habitat, they can eat larger creatures.
Secondly, this discovery allows scientists to understand which animals may be on the verge of extinction due to pythons.
It is worth noting that the tiger pythons themselves are in a very dangerous position. This is mainly due to the activities of people – cutting down tropical forests, they deprive snakes of their habitat.
And there were a lot of reptile predators on our planet, by the way, and scientists have an explanation for this.
Contact us: [email protected]