Burmese pyhton

This is how large prey can be consumed by pythons

The expression “so hungry that I could eat a horse” may not be a mere figure of speech, but it is a statement about the Burmese Python.

Long believed that the python’s body and head were large enough to eat such huge prey.

These huge snakes can grow to a length of 18 feet (5.5m) and can weigh up to 200 pounds (90.7 kg). Eyewitnesses have even seen them swallow deer, goats, and alligators.

A recent study in Integrative Organismal Biology revealed that it is not only the size of the Python that decides what its menu will include. The python’s “gape”, or the extent to which it can open its mouth, is more important.

Bruce Jayne, a professor of biological sciences at the University of Cincinnati and the lead author of the study, stated that “one common misconception is that snakes dislocate their jaws to swallow prey.”

“The most important thing about snakes is that their jaws have a lot of mobility, but they don’t get dislocated.”

The python doesn’t dislocate its jaw before eating prey. Instead, it eats them thanks to a stretchy piece of connective tissue that connects the lower jaw to the skull.

It also aids out because of the bone structure in the front of your mouth.

“The left and the right bones are not fused at the chin. Jayne stated that there is a fundamental difference between our lower jaws and the lower jaws of a snake.

The jaw is extremely elastic, allowing the python to wrap its mouth around its prey even more.

A python’s mouth also has one last trick.

He said, “They have additional bone on the roof of your mouth, unlike ours that have teeth,” he continued.

Jayne says that snakes have two rows of lateral teeth. While humans only have one row, they have the other row. These rows of teeth “wiggle back and forth,” pulling prey closer to the stomach.

Wildlife impacts

Scientists examined 43 Burmese pythons that had been killed. Their gap was measured using a series of 3D-printed plastic objects that were incrementally sized. Each snake’s mouth could be measured with the objects.

The longest probe measured 9 inches (22 cm) in diameter. One snake was too large to swallow the object. It was a 14-foot (4.3-meter) python that weighed 140 pounds (63.3 kgs).

A Burmese Python is not venomous, unlike vipers, cobras and rattlesnakes. It does not bite its prey, but suffocates it, wrapping its arms around it and compressing its muscles to restrict blood flow.

Recent research has shown that Pythons pose a threat to wildlife conservationists in the United States. In South Florida, the Everglades National Park once was home to raccoons and possums as well as deer, raccoons, and foxes. In recent years, however, the area has seen a decrease in these animals.

Why? Burmese pythons.

The annual conservation effort known as the Florida Python Challenge was revived this August. This event brought hundreds of snake hunters back to the Everglades to kill and hunt non-native reptiles. With support from private and nonprofit partners, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and South Florida Water Management District organized the 10-day event for the first time in 2020.

Ian Bartoszek, the study coauthor, stated in a press release that “The Everglades ecosystem changes in real-time based on one species,” and added that the Burmese Python is the key to this change. He is the Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s environmental science project manager.

According to the US National Park Service website, Everglades National Park officials have been studying how to eradicate invasive species from the fragile ecosystem for more than a decade. According to the website, a 2012 study suggested that increasing numbers of Burmese Pythons, which were likely to have taken root when pet snakes were released into the wild, may be responsible for severe declines in mammal population in the Everglades habitat.

Jayne’s latest study suggests that it is not only smaller mammals that are at risk from overpopulation by pythons, but also larger mammals like deer and alligators.

Researchers wondered if there was a limit on the gape for some of the largest pythons.

Jayne stated that while extrapolating data is always a risky business, it would not surprise me if a very large Burmese Python might have a gap diameter of around 30 centimeters (11.8 inches).

This could mean that a large python would be able to eat a horse if it was so hungry?

Jayne suggested that they might eat a pony.

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