How do snakes smell their environment?
For snakes their senses are of utmost importance especially the sense of smell is of considerable value because they use it for navigation and many other purposes in fact many of the snake species are not capable of seeing properly and depend upon the sense of smell for carrying out numerous activities. However, unlike other animals snake don’t use nose for smelling different things they use their tongue. This may indeed sound weird, but its true snakes use their tongue for smelling and sending message to the brain.
The use of long tongue in snakes is responsible for their picking of different kinds of smells. Snakes extend their tongue out of their mouths and this allows them to pick up different kinds of odors, which are present in the surroundings. The tongue has been designed for picking up odors and when it goes back into the mouth it gets inserted into the openings of Jacobson’s organs. Scents will get rubbed off in that structure also they are tasted. In this manner the message is conveyed to the brain for understanding and carrying out different kinds of activities.
After then categorization into meals, mating or danger takes place. An interesting point to mention here is that you might have noticed that a fork is present in tongue, which makes it further easier for snakes to pick up different kinds of smells. If the tongue of snake would have been in a single piece then it would have not been that much easier to pick up different odors.
Snakes also navigate using this ability because the scent, which they pickup tells about the direction from which it is coming. This allows them to go behind prey and wait for it. Depending upon the indications snake can make decision related with retreating or they can turn defensive and continue moving in a particular direction.
Another interesting point to mention here is that no external ears are present in snake, but still they are capable of hearing. They mostly depend upon vibrations which come from all directions and upon hearing the movement snakes decide that either they should retreat or attack. There are some snake species which have high quality vision, but the myth is there that they can’t see properly. However, the sense of smell is most important for snake because of the reasons, which have been discussed above and we can say that snakes depend upon their tongues to a great extent.
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