If you’ve ever seen a snake tongue, you’d probably know that they don’t drink water like a dog or cat. The split-fork tongue is not suitable to scoop and cup water into a snakes mouth. So, that begs the question, “just how do snakes drink water?”
The answer might surprise you. To start, snakes do indeed drink water. Now, how they drink water is totally different than how humans and other animals drink water. That said, snakes need to hydrate like most other dry land animals on this planet. Interesting fact, even sea snakes need to venture out of their salt-water habitat to find fresh water to drink.
Below, you’ll find everything you need to know about how snakes drink water. Plus, you’ll even see a cool video of a live snake drinking water. It’s pretty neat.
Common Myths about Snakes Drinking Water
There are a lot of wise tales out there when it comes to snakes and how and if they need to hydrate. In the past, many thought snakes did not drink water. This assumption has been debunked, just like the thought of snakes not needing to sleep has been dis-proven. Below are a few wrong assumptions about how snakes slurped up H20 that are either not true or not entirely correct.
- Snakes drink water like humans. False. Humans have what is called a buccinator muscle, which allows us to suck and pull water into our mouths and down our gullet. Although they have something similar, snakes do not have this specific muscle.
- Snakes get all of their water from food. Not entirely true. Snakes do in fact gain some water sources from their food, especially those who feed on fish, frogs, and other more water-dense animals. That said, most snakes still need to drink water from other sources.
- Snakes don’t drink any water at all because they don’t need it. False. Snakes do need water, and they do drink it. We’ll show you what a drinking snake looks like later on.
So, Just How Do Snakes Hydrate?
Snakes have a very unique way of slurping down water. If you’ve ever seen a snake eat, you’d notice just how large it’s mouth can get. This expanding mouth contains a lot of tissue, particularly on the bottom jaw. Consequently, the bottom jaw of most snake breeds are what help them absorb and drink water.
The bottom part of a snakes mouth has an abundance of small groves that act like a sponge when it hits water. These tiny sponge-like groves assist in absorbing water, which is then “muscled” down by a snakes jaw muscle. Similar to how it eats, snakes use the same muscles to force water down their body. These sheath-like sponge groves act as capillaries which make it so snakes can siphon water into their mouths.
Additionally, a snakes ability to “siphon” is key for this biological drinking function. Snakes make their mouths air-tight when drinking, and make the front of their mouth almost like a straw. This, in effect helps snakes absorb the water into their mouth groves and force it into their digestive systems.
Remember, not all snakes are alike. Different breeds like Boa Constrictors may drink water from US native breeds like Corn Snakes. In any case, the groves and sponge-like biology is pretty standard in most snake breeds.
There you go! That’s how snakes drink water. Now, onto the cool stuff. A bunch of different videos showing you different examples of how snakes hydrate.
Cool Videos of Snakes Drinking Water
Watch this Hognose Snake adorably drink water from a glass bowl. This is a great visualization on how snakes drink, and should give you a great idea on what the process looks like.
Check out this crazy guy who saved a Bull Snake from a busy road. The Bull snake was thirsty, too — as you’ll see in the video. He slurps down the water like he hasn’t had any in months!
Check out this massive 5 ft South American Boa Constrictor yawn and guzzle down some H20. Pretty interesting if you ask me… See, every snake needs to drink!