Why do snakes inflate their throat?

Why do snakes inflate, swell, or puff up their throat?

Not all snakes inflate their throat. 

Some snakes that inflate their throat include the African Puff Adder (Bitis arietans), the North American Eastern Hognose (Heterodon platirhinos), and the African Eastern Vine Snake (Thelotornis mossambicanus).

African Eastern Vine Snake

They inflate their thoat when threatened to make themselves look larger to their predators. 

They use their lung to inflate their throat. They have one lung, which is long and thin, like its body cavity.

For example, the Eastern Vine Snake (pictured) is a thin, grey snake, with a beige underbelly. The top of its head is green, often with black speckles. Its body also has speckles. When startled, it inflates its throat to show its black spots between its scales. 

African Eastern Vine Snake
African Eastern Vine Snake

Location of photographs: Snake Park, Nairobi, Kenya

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.