Can Snakes Break Their Jaw? The Surprising Answer

Affiliate Disclaimer

As an affiliate, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links on this website from Amazon and other third parties.

Believe it or not, the answer to this question is yes! In fact, it’s fairly common for snakes to break their jaw. This happens when they attempt to eat something that is too big for them, or when they fight with other snakes. If you’re ever bitten by a snake, be sure to get medical attention right away, as broken jaws can lead to serious health complications.




Snakes are remarkable creatures, capable of doing things that would be impossible for most other animals. One of the things that snakes can do is break their jaw.

This may sound like a bad thing, but it’s actually a very useful ability. Snakes have hinged jaws that allow them to open their mouths wide enough to consume prey that is much larger than their heads.

When they need to, snakes can unhinge their lower jaws and open their mouths even wider. This skill comes in handy when they need to eat something particularly large or when they want to intimidate predators or opponents.

While it may seem like an inconvenient ability, breaking their jaw is actually just another one of the many ways that snakes have adapted to survive in the wild.


The jaw of a snake is incredibly flexible.


The jaw of a snake is an amazing adaptation that allows the snake to eat prey much larger than its head.

The lower jaw is connected to the skull by a flexible ligament, which allows the jaws to open wide. The upper jaw is not attached to the skull, and instead, each half is connected to the lower jaw by a pair of hinges.

This gives the snake even more flexibility, allowing it to swallow prey whole. However, this flexibility does have its limits. If the snake tries to eat something too large, the ligaments and hinges can be stretched beyond their limit and break.

This usually results in the snake regurgitating its meal, which is often still alive. While it may be impressive to see a snake swallowing a rat whole, it’s important to remember that this isn’t always safe for the snake and can result in serious injury.


If a snake’s jaw is broken, it can heal but it will never be as strong as it was before


The jaw of a snake is also relatively fragile, and if it is broken, it can take months to heal properly.

While the snake will be able to open and close its mouth after the injury has healed, the jaw will never be as strong as it was before.

This is because the bone heals with a thin layer of scar tissue, which is weaker than the original bone. As a result, a snake that has suffered a broken jaw is more likely to be injured again in the future.


Snakes use their jaw to eat, catch prey, and defend themselves from predators


Snakes are carnivorous reptiles that use their sharp teeth and jaw to capture and eat prey. Their cranial anatomy is designed specifically for this purpose, as their skulls are very flexible and can open wide to accommodate large meals.

In addition to using their jaw to eat, snakes also use it as a form of defense.

When threatened by a predator, they will open their mouths wide and hiss, which can be an effective way of deterring an attack.

Finally, snakes use their jaw to catch prey. They are able to strike quickly and accurately, injecting venom into their victim that immobilizes them. This allows the snake to then safely consume its meal.


While a broken jaw isn’t life-threatening to a snake, it can make eating difficult and cause other health problems


A broken jaw is a serious injury for a snake. While it isn’t life-threatening, it can make eating difficult and cause other health problems.

The first thing to do if you suspect your snake has a broken jaw is to take it to the vet. They will be able to confirm the diagnosis and provide treatment.

Treatment will often involve pain medication and antibiotics. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to repair the jaw.

If your snake’s jaw is broken, it is important to get treatment as soon as possible. Left untreated, a broken jaw can lead to infection, malnutrition, and other health complications.


What to do if you see a snake with a broken jaw


If you see a snake with what appears to be a broken jaw, it is best to leave it alone. While it may be tempting to try to help the snake, meddlesome humans are more likely to cause harm than good.

In the wild, snakes with broken jaws are at a disadvantage when it comes to hunting and scavenging. As a result, they often don’t survive for long.

However, if a snake is lucky enough to find itself in a hospitable environment with an abundance of food, it stands a better chance of making a full recovery.

So, if you come across a snake with a broken jaw, the best thing you can do is leave it be and let nature take its course.


Do snakes really unhinge their jaws?


Though it may appear so, snakes do not actually unhinge their jaws when they eat. Their mouths are simply designed to open very wide, allowing them to consume prey that is much larger than their own head.

This flexibility is made possible by a number of anatomical features.

  • First, snakes have double-jointed lower jaws, which allow them to open their mouths extremely wide.


  • Second, they have ligaments that attach the lower jaw to the skull, rather than bones. These ligaments are very stretchy, allowing the lower jaw to come loose from the skull.


  • Finally, snakes have incredibly elastic skin, which helps them to swallow prey whole.


Together, these features give snakes the ability to consume victims that are much larger than themselves.


How are snakes able to swallow large prey?


Snakes are able to swallow large prey whole thanks to their unique physiology. Their skulls are very flexible, allowing them to open their mouths incredibly wide.

They also have an extendable lower jaw, which further increases the size of their mouths. Furthermore, snakes have extremely long digestive tracts, meaning that they can digest their food over a period of days or even weeks.

This allows them to digest prey that would be too large to fit inside their stomachs all at once. Finally, snakes have a number of other adaptations that help them to hunt and eat large prey, such as heat-sensing pits that allow them to locate their prey in the dark. taken together, these features enable snakes to successfully consume prey that is much larger than themselves.




It is a popular myth that snakes can unhinge their jaws to eat prey that is larger than their head. In reality, snakes can on occasions break their jaw. Instead, they have a very flexible lower jaw that is attached to the rest of the skull by a ligament.

This allows them to open their mouths wide enough to consume prey that is larger than their head. However, there are some snakes that have specialized bones in their lower jaw that allow them to open their mouths even wider.

The African rock python, for example, has a pair of large bones that pivot on hinges, allowing it to open its mouth up to 180 degrees. As a result, these snakes are able to eat prey that is much larger than their own head. While most snakes cannot break their jaw, there are a few species that have evolved specialized adaptations that allow them to open their mouths extremely wide.

About the author

Latest posts