How does a snake swallow something bigger than itself?

A snake is a long, thin animal with a fairly narrow head, and yet some species eat bird’s eggs and animals which are far broader than their own bodies. They can do this because their jaws are not rigidly fixed together, but are merely connected by ligaments which can stretch, allowing the snake to force its mouth right over the bulkiest of preys.


Snakes that swallow eggs whole have a unique way of breaking them open once they are inside their bodies. They have special bones in their throats which they squeeze against the egg until it breaks.

A snake’s stomach can also stretch enormously, allowing the prey to be swallowed whole. A snake which has just eaten a big meal looks very strange indeed. Its head and neck are the normal size; then there is a huge bulge where the prey is located, before the body tapers to its usual size towards the tail.

The largest animal on record to be swallowed by a snake was 59 kilograms Impala, which was removed from a 4.87 meters (16 feet) African rock python. The image above is of a snake swallowing Kangaroo.

Additional reading:
Snake (Wikipedia)

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