How Do Snakes Smell Things?

Unlike humans, who use their noses to smell the air and objects around them, snakes use their forked tongues in order to smell.

By flicking their tongues, snakes are able to pick up the tiny particles in the air that will eventually be perceived as scent. Once their tongue is placed back into their mouth after having picked up these particles, their tongue fits neatly back into a small organ at the top of their mouth (called the Jacobson’s organ). This organ then rallies the chemical information about the particles to the brain of the snake, allowing them to experience the tiny particles as scents and odours.

royal python smelling with tongue