Manchester snakes may have poor listening skill and eyesight, but they are known for having an incredible sense of smell. However, the snakes will smell their environment not with the standard type of nose. While snakes may have nostrils, they will be mainly using this to breathe. They will use the organs located on their mouth’s roof known as vomeronasal system. In order to catch the chemical cues in their surrounding, the snakes will be using its tongue.
How Manchester Snakes Smell Using their Tongue
The snakes will not rely on their nose when sensing their surroundings. If the snake smells something interesting, it will be flicking its tongue that will help them track the source of the odor. Snakes have forked tongue similar with the lizards. Some species of the snake will have more extreme tongue than the others. Once they start flicking their tongue, they will be picking particles in the air.
Upon retracting their tongue back into their mouth, the molecules will be sent to their vomeronasal organ. This organ resembles the appearance of the bulb. It is positioned on the upper section of the mouth. This part will be separated by the nasal cavity. Therefore, the only way that the snake can catch the odor is through their mouth.
Smelling While on the Move
During the 1920s, expert used to think that the snakes will be inserting the tines of their tongue into their nostrils. However, upon further studies, they discovered that this is not true. Nonetheless, the idea that the smell will be transferred to the holes is still accurate. If the chemical cue is stronger in the right vomeronasal organ, the source of the odor will probably be located in the right direction. This is an efficient method of tracking the prey.
The snake will be required to process the information immediately in order to capture the prey. When moving, the snake will be flicking their tongue at least once per second. There are times that it may even be faster. When the signal has been picked up and sent to the vomeronasal organ, they only have less than a second to interpret it. This will make sure that their dinner will not escape their grasp.
If you open the mouth of the snake, you will not immediately find the tongue of the snake. It will be concealed inside the lower jaw. The only part of the tongue that will be visible would be the forked part. When they are flicking their tongue, it will first pass into the rostral groove. This enables the snake to flick its tongue without the need to open its mouth. The nostrils of the snake also have an olfactory nerve. They can actually smell using their nostrils. However, as we mentioned above, they will not fully depend on their nostril for smelling. The idea is to catch an interesting smell with their nostril, and to trail the scent using their tongue.
While there may be other animals that are known for their forked tongue, the snake is only the creature that has the most complex system of receptor.
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