SNAKES AND THEIR FANG STRUCTURE IN SOUTH AFRICA.

The different species of venomous snakes have different fang structures, venom types and different delivery methods to inject their venom.

The delivery methods and fang structures depend on various factors such as habits, prey and the environment where the snake lives. Essentially fangs are modified teeth and have a specific role to play in aiding snakes deliver their fatal dose of venom into their prey. A snake will replace its fangs throughout its life, should a fang become damaged during feeding it will fall out and a replacement will be waiting just behind it – much like that of a sharks tooth.

Puff Adder (Bitis arietans) Hinged Fangs

Puff_Adder_Bitis_arietans_Tyrone_Ping_2018_fang

With opening at base to inject venom, much like a hypodermic needle, the fangs are long and fold into a sheath which sits on the roof of the mouth until the fangs are extended when biting prey.

Black Mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis) – Fixed Front Fanged

fang

Opening at the base to inject venom – here a unique case where a double fang is present. As one fang is damaged another will take its place much like sharks teeth.

Mozambique Spitting Cobra (Naja mossambica) – Fixed Front Fanged

Naja mossambicus_Mozambique Spitting Cobra_Tyrone Ping_fang

With opening on the front of the fang to spray venom, these snakes can bite much like regular snakes in addition to spitting/spraying their venom.

Boomslang (Dispholidus typus viridis) – Rear or Back Fanged

Boomslang (Dispholidus typus viridis)_ fang_

The fangs are situated back in the mouth beneath the eye, contrary to popular belief these snakes can easily bite and inject venom even on a flat surface of the body.

Stiletto Snake (Atractaspis bibronii) – Mobile Fanged

Atractaspis bibronii_Bibrons Stiletto Snake__fang_Tyrone_Ping_2018

These fangs are unique to the stiletto snake which can extend out the side of the mouth to bite prey in small tight places such as rodent burrows.

For more on the Snakes in South Africa read more here.

by Tyrone Ping

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