Do snakes really smell with their tongues?

An Australian fierce snakeSnakes do use their tongues to smell! Snakes have nostrils, just like humans. But a snake’s tongue is also very important.

When a snake flicks its tongue in the air, it picks up tiny chemical particles. When the snake brings its tongue back into its mouth, the tongue fits into a special organ on the roof of the mouth.

This special organ is called the vomeronasal system. The vomeronasal system takes those tiny chemical particles and tells the snake what they are. This way the snake “smells” things like dirt, plants and other animals. This way of smelling the world can help a snake avoid predators or help the snake catch food.

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