Snake Swallows Egg, Regurgitates Eggshell

Indian egg-eater snake - Elachistodon_westermanni Photo by Krishna Khan Amravati
Indian egg-eating snake. Photo by Krishna Khan Amravati.

Have you ever seen a snake swallow an egg? Well, even if you have, you might not have seen one swallow one and regurgitate the eggshell. In this video, an egg-eating snake does just that.

There are only six species of snakes that exclusively eat eggs, and they are all colubrids. Of these six species, all but one of these snakes are in the Dasypeltis genus. The outlier is the Indian egg-eating snake, which is in the Elachistodon genus.

Since they eat eggs, none of these snakes are venomous; however, they have other adaptations that help them consume eggs. On their spines, they possess bony protrusions, which they use to penetrate and crush the eggs. When they swallow an egg, they flex the muscles inside their throat to drive the protrusions into the egg and collapse the shell inside their body.

Common Egg-Eating Snake - Photo by Sabine Urbach
Common egg-eating snake. Photo by Sabine Urbach.

Once the eggshell has collapsed, they squeeze every bit of liquid from the egg and digest it. Then, having harvested all the available nutrients, they regurgitate the undigestable, empty eggshell. This method of feeding is quite efficient and optimizes the snake’s food intake. The snake wastes very little.

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