Why Does a Snake Always Stick Out Its Tongue?

A snake’s tongue looks like a long, sharp, slender forked finger. People have long believed that when a snake flicks its tongue in and out of its mouth rapidly, it is preparing to attack. But this is not so. Actually, the snake’s tongue is harmless.

The flicking is only a snake’s way of feeling, touching, and picking up food. The tongue carries the food up to two tiny cavities in the roof of the snake’s mouth. These cavities are connected to the snake’s sense of smell.

A snake’s sharp, needlelike teeth are not good for chewing, and it must swallow its food whole.

Because the snake’s upper and lower jaws are loosely connected, they can stretch to allow the snake to swallow an animal three times as large as its head. Large pythons can eat animals up to 100 pounds in weight!

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