Impressive study reveals how pythons can devour oversized prey

Burmese pythons are voracious eaters, devouring almost anything that crosses their paths—even quite a few white-tailed deer and other large mammals. So is there a limit to how far these slippery carnivores can stretch their jaws to sweep up large prey? Maybe not, scientists recently learned.

These pythons are huge compared to other snakes, reaching about 18 feet (5.5 meters) in length and weigh up to 200 pounds (91 kg). However, a study was published on August 25 in the journal Integrated Organismal Biology (opens in new tab) found that their girth is not what determines why hungry pythons can gobble up large meals. Instead, the secret lies in the snakes’ gap – how wide they can open their mouths.

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