All snake species yawn but there is an ongoing debate as to the reason of motivation behind a snake yawning.

This reasons for a snake yawning are not only being tired, it is more known that the snake is actually stretching their jaw in preparation of eating a large meal or readjusting their jaw after swallowing a large meal.

A snake can open its mouth near 180 degrees, the bottom aw of a snake is the reason behind this.

How Snakes Yawn

As from previous the bottom jaw of the snake is not fixed into place, so the bottom jaw is the only part that is able to open their mouth so wide.

The top jaw of the snake is fixed to the skull and does not move.

Interestingly the bottom jaw is not attached to either side, this allows a snake to push each side of the jaw forward one at a time to push the meal down their throat.

When would a snake yawn?

A snake is most likely going to yawn for the following reasons:

  • Stretching
  • Chemical Ques
  • Before Eating
  • After Eating
  • Respiratory infections

Before Eating

A snake may decide before eating their meal, they must lubricate and stretch out their jaw in preparation of a larger size meal.

This also will stretch the ligaments which attach the bottom jaw, similar to a human stretching their legs before going for a run.

This stops the ligaments from becoming tight also and keeps the elasticity.

After Eating

After a meal a snake’s bottom jaw may be out of alignment and the snake therefore needs to yawn to reposition the lower jaw back into its natural position.

As a snake eats a meal it will have to hyper extend the ligaments of the lower jaw.

The meal is then swallowed, as the jaw comes down it may miss the position and a yawn will allow the need to try again.


It is thought that snakes love to stretch their jaw after long periods, it is not 100% confirmed why.

But snakes do yawn just to stretch, if this is to be connected to being tired or just waking up from a sleep is yet to be proven.

How often a snake will stretch varies for numerous reasons, but it has been found that younger snakes will yawn more often than the adult counterparts.

Respiratory & other infections

An R.I which is the equivalent of a cold in humans can prove fatal if left untreated.

As the mucus builds a snake will yawn to improve the airways air flow.

If you are unsure if this is the case with your pet snake, checking for any discharge around the mouth will reveal if this is a possibility.

A Snake will yawn much more frequently with infections upwards of 3 times a day, this is not natural, and the snake should be taken to a local veterinary to be checked over.