Wondering even if it is snakes have actually bones? A lot of of civilization are surprised by the answer. The reality is line do have actually bones and also lots of them.

You are watching: How many ribs do snakes have

Every varieties of snake has bones, yet snakes nothing have numerous different species of bones. A snake’s skeleton is consisted of primarily that vertebrae, rib bones, jawbones, and also a skull. Part species, favor boas and pythons, additionally have a hip bone. Relying on the size and also species, snakes can have anywhere between 600 to 1800 bones.

Now the you’ve satisfied her curiosity, let’s take a look at snake bones in a bit more detail.

Contents hide
1 execute Snakes have actually Backbones?
1.1 How many Bones carry out Snakes Have?
1.2 carry out Snakes have actually Skull Bones?

Do Snakes have actually Backbones?

All snakes space vertebrates, which means that they all have backbones. In fact, snakes have more backbones (or vertebrae) than any kind of living mammal.

In a snake’s body, many tiny backbones are associated by hundreds of joints and a solid network of muscles, i beg your pardon is what provides snakes their too much flexibility.

The variety of vertebrae counts on the dimension and types of the snake, however all snakes have an unusually high number of vertebrae contrasted to many other vertebrates. Snake actually have 2 main types of vertebrae:

Precaudal vertebrae:The vertebrae uncovered in the snake’s body
Caudal vertebrae:The vertebrae found in a snake’s tail

Depending top top the size and also species, a snake can have anywhere between 100 and also 450 vertebrae in the main component of its body (precaudal vertebrae), and also as low as 10 come as many as 205 caudal vertebrae in the tail.


Each precaudal vertebrae (the people in the mainbody, not the tail) is attached to a pair the ribs.

So, let’s say that a snake has 450 backbones in the main part of its body. If that’s the case, then it will likewise have a complete of 900 rib bones.

As I’m certain you have the right to work out, this way that a snake’s skeleton is mostly comprised of ribs. Actually, roughly 70% of a snake’s bones space rib bones.

A snake’s vertebrae and also rib structure comprise the majority of its skeleton, i m sorry is connected in a means that enables the line to be exceptionally flexible.

Snake vertebrae attach with each other at 5 different points, definition that they deserve to swivel, rotate and also twist through ease.

Because the the huge variety of motion that is developed into a snake’s skeleton, coupled v the absence of a sternum (snakes don’t have a breastbone the connects the ribcage), a snake have the right to actually increase its rib cage come an astounding degree, making the super basic to swallow huge prey whole.

How countless Bones execute Snakes Have?

Snakes have the right to have anywhere in between 600 and also 1800 bones.

Scientists look in ~ the broad belly scales (called ventral scales) and the dorsal scale on the human body of the snake.

These scales correspond come the variety of vertebrae, so they have the right to use the scale to number out the variety of vertebrae in a live snake.

If you desire to recognize how many bones a snake has, you an initial need to counting the variety of vertebrae in both its body and in that tail.

Next, you have to calculate how countless rib bonesthe line has.

You perform this by merely doubling the number ofprecaudal vertebrae. Execute you remember i m sorry ones lock are? – if you guessed theones in the main body – you absolutely right!

Add top top the number of vertebrae in the snake’stail, and also the small variety of skull and jawbones (around 10), and also you will geta pretty good idea that the total number of bones in a snake’s body.

The Royal culture Journal discovered that the variety of vertebrae in line is directly associated with a snake’s body size, for this reason the bigger the snake, the an ext vertebrae it will certainly have.

To gain to this conclusion, the professionals measured number of snakes, many notably boas and also pythons, and also counted the variety of vertebrae. This is a snippet of what castle found:

The average variety of vertebrae in pythons that measured in between 7 and 9 feet lengthy was 300. Make the total variety of bones (including rib and skull bones) around 850.Boas of about 5 feet had actually an mean of 250 vertebrae, pass the complete bone count to about 700.The highest number of vertebrae they uncovered (in a python) was 450. Once they included up all the various other bones (pairs the rib bones, skull, and jawbones) the total variety of bones was 1200.

do Snakes have actually Skull Bones?

A snake’s skull bone is maybe the most an essential and fascinating bone in its whole body. This is why:

A snake’s brain is entirely encased in bone to defend it against struggling prey

Since the snake’s mouth and the mind are soclose together, and snakes have tendency to swallow your (rather large) live preywhole, the snake’s brain could easily be damaged.

The skull bone has because of this cleverly evolvedto completely envelop and also protect this vital organ.

Skull sizes and also shapes vary wildly in snakes.

From an evolution perspective, both the toughness of the braincase and also the size and also shape of a snake’s skull have the right to be connected to the specific features that a varieties habitat.

A line hears with its skull bones

Snakes nothing have any ears, but they do have actually afew skull bones and also jawbones that allow them come receive and detect soundwaves.

The way that snakes hear is called bone conduction and also it works since they have a sensitive and also very basic inner ear structure.

According to the Journal of experimental Biology, snakes have the right to hear due to the fact that they have a solitary inner ear bone the vibrates within the skull.

It’s called the columella auris, and also it’s associated to the snake’s jawbone.

A snake’s skull is really flexible to permit it come stretch and also expand to consume prey.

A many of human being think that snakes unhinge or dislocate your jaw come consume prey. Not so.

Snakes have the right to open their mouths very widebecause the a pair of stretchy ligaments and a really important bone, i beg your pardon isfound in the skull.

The quadrate bone is a bone at the ago of a snake’s skull the is attached to the main part of the skull by some very stretchy ligaments.

The quadrate bone works like a double-hingedjoint, allowing most snake types to open up their jaws up to roughly 150degrees.

Instead the a chin bone connecting theirjawbones together as we humans have, snakes have a stretchy ligament thatconnects the two halves of your jaw (called the mandibles) together.

You can plainly see the gap where the stretchy ligament would certainly be (at the bottom of the jaw) top top the photo below:


As Kenneth V Kardong defines in his post for Coepia, the configuration of the cranial bones and their attachment to this stretchy ligament is what enables snakes to rise their jaw width or “gape”.

See more: Does Mark Wahlberg Have A Third Nipple Is A Rare Oddity, Stars With Weird Body Parts

So, it turns out that snakes do have actually bones. Those more, all those tiny little interconnected bones room what allow snakes come move, bend, twist, rotate and also expand and also contract your jaws and ribs for this reason effortlessly.