There are a number of questions that people often ask about snakes and one of these is in relation to their lungs. So where are snakes lungs and how do they work?
The most notable difference between the lungs of a snake and those of mammals is the number of lobes. A snake’s lungs are divided into two main lobes while mammals have three. This is due to the fact that snakes have evolved to be able to swallow their prey whole and so their lungs have adapted to accommodate this.
The main function of lungs is to exchange gases such as oxygen and carbon dioxide. In order to do this they need to be filled with air. However because snakes are cold-blooded they rely on external sources of heat to warm their bodies and this means that they don’t need to take in as much oxygen as mammals.
So while snakes do have lungs they don’t use them in the same way as mammals. This is why you’ll often see snakes basking in the sun – they are trying to increase their body temperature so that they can better digest their food.
What is the scientific name for a snake’s lungs?
Snake lungs are scientific name is ‘pulmonosarcous.
How many lungs does a snake have?
Snakes have two lungs but the right one is typically smaller than the left.
What is the main difference between snake lungs and human lungs?
The main difference between snake lungs and human lungs is that human lungs are divided into sections by thin walls of tissue while snake lungs are not.
How does this affect how snakes breathe?
Because snake lungs are not divided into sections they are not as efficient in exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide as human lungs.
This means that snakes must rely on other methods of exchanging gases such as through their skin.
Do all snakes have the same type of lungs?
No different species of snakes have different types of lungs.
For example some snakes have one large lung while others have two smaller lungs.
What are the benefits of having two lungs?
The benefits of having two lungs include increased surface area for exchanging gases and the ability to breathe even if one lung is damaged.
How do snakes breathe when they are underwater?
When snakes are underwater they use their skin and mouth lining to absorb oxygen from the water.
How does this compare to how humans breathe underwater?
Humans cannot absorb oxygen through their skin so they must use a snorkel or other devices to breathe underwater.
What are the benefits of having lungs that can absorb oxygen through the skin?
The benefits of having lungs that can absorb oxygen through the skin include the ability to stay submerged for longer periods of time and to breathe in environments where there is little or no air.
Are there any drawbacks to having lungs that can absorb oxygen through the skin?
The main drawback of having lungs that can absorb oxygen through the skin is that the snake is more susceptible to dehydration.
How do snakes compensate for their lack of efficient lungs?
Snakes compensate for their lack of efficient lungs by having a higher metabolic rate than mammals.
This means that they need to eat more often to maintain their energy levels.
What is the advantage of having a higher metabolic rate?
The advantage of having a higher metabolic rate is that it allows the snake to move more quickly and to digest food more efficiently.
What are the drawbacks of having a higher metabolic rate?
The main drawback of having a higher metabolic rate is that the snake needs to eat more often which can be difficult to do in the wild.
What other methods do snakes use to exchange gases?
In addition to using their skin to exchange gases snakes also use their mouth lining.
How does this compare to how humans exchange gases?
Humans exchange gases mainly through their lungs but they also use their mouth lining to a limited extent.