Snakes have a an unusually way of smelling things, most people assume that because snakes have nostrils this is how they do it.

This could not be any further from the truth!

Snakes use their tongue to gauge smells; this is the explanation as to why a snake’s tongue flickers repeatedly.

What is happening in doing so, as the tongue goes out into the air, it will take particles which stick to their forked tongue.

The tongue will move up and down between 7 -10 times and then retract back into their mouth.

Within their mouth at the top-front side of the inside is two small holes in which the forked tongue is pressed up into.

This is called the Jacobson organ; this organ connects to the brain and registers what different smells.

In most cases a snake has 2 curiosity’s, one is smells of anything that may be a threat to their life or if they should become defensive or wary of the surroundings, most snakes and not an apex predator and will need to stay vigilant about nearby attacks.

Secondly is the primary use which is for hunting prey, snakes can smell a live rodent or prey item from a considerable distance (this varies from different snake species in the wild.).

Due to snake’s eyesight not being as strong as other reptiles, a snake is heavily reliant on the success of their smell.

The tongue of a snake is so delicate, a snake can pin-point the direct that is prey is located to track them down, from well over 100meters away. 

Jacobson Organ

The Jacobson organ, also known as the “vomeronasal organ” is very sophisticated and can even gain smells of nearby mates which can ready a snake for breeding.

From the smells that it receives the snake’s brain will react accordingly.