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Snakes have movable jaw bones for
A) Swallowing items larger than their heads
B) Crushing of their prey
C) Protection from violent movements of prey
D) All of the above

Last updated date: 20th Jun 2024
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Hint: There is a myth that snakes are able to dislocate their jaws in order to swallow very large prey. While this is not true, the anatomy of a snake's jaw allows it to perform various feats like swallowing animals longer than itself.

Complete answer:
A snake’s skull is built very differently than that of a mammal’s. Mammals’ skulls are designed for brute force, while snakes are designed for flexibility. They are capable of swallowing animals much larger than their heads, for example pythons can swallow alligators. This is because the upper and lower jaws are able to move separately, and are not fixed, but joined by a ligament which provides flexibility. Option A is the correct answer.
Snakes that crush their prey are known as constrictors. These include pythons and anacondas. Crushing is done by tightly coiling their bodies around the prey and exerting immense pressure. It is not related to the jaws. Option B is not correct.

The movable jaw bones allow the snake to swallow extremely long animals, but do not afford protection from violent movements. Venomous snakes bite and wait for the poison to take action, while constrictors wind around the prey. Option C is incorrect.

Hence, the correct answer is option (A)

Note: The ability to swallow prey like other snakes which may be longer than themselves is possibly because snakes can alternately move their jaws and sink their teeth into the prey animals, pulling it in and compressing the prey animal’s spine.