Biology Pre-Vet Major
Physical and Biological Sciences Category
I am Hannah Snyder I am a first-year student at MSSU (Missouri Southern State University). I am studying biology on the pre-veterinary path. I want to be a veterinarian because I have always had a passion for animals. I worked at an animal shelter in my hometown in Iowa, and my certainty of wanting to work with animals was strengthened.
Snakes are a well-known group of elongated, limbless reptiles. Snakes are also well known for being gape-limited predators; they cannot chew food but instead, swallow it whole. Despite this limitation, many snakes are capable of ingesting considerably large prey. For constricting snakes, this presents an increased challenge for subduing and ingesting prey as they get larger and larger. As prey size increases, snakes face increasing risks of injury or failure. Further, as prey size increases, snakes are likely to face exponentially increasing ingestion durations as they approach the limits of their ingestion capabilities. To test this, we presented Borneo Pythons (Python breitensteini) with three different prey sizes (10, 20, 30% relative prey mass) in order to quantify the constriction pressures that they exert on their prey. Further, we counted the number of jaw cycles necessary to ingest each prey item as well as the overall time to ingest each prey item.