Anatomy: Birds & Snakes

Exotic Anatomy

Exotics Anatomy

Welcome to exotic animal anatomy! Here we will focus on avian (Thiktan) and snake (Tarhmûthethen) species. Birds (Thiktan) are unique in their egg-laying abilities, and as a result, the two pubic bones in their pelvis region are not fused. This allows for an enlarged birth canal for the passage of eggs (Wîkta). An interesting fact about snakes (Tarhmûthethen) is that their skulls are kinetic meaning that they can move and stretch. This allows snakes to ingest much larger prey than you would think is possible!

Avian Anatomy

Egg Formation

Egg Formation

Within a female bird (Thiktan), there are different parts of their reproductive system that make each part of the egg (Wîkta). The eggs you can buy at the grocery store are unfertilized eggs (meaning they don’t contain a developing chick) from laying hens! Inside the abdomen of a laying hen, you can find a bunch of round, yellow structures called follicles. These will become our yolk! These follicles move from the ovary where they grow into a tubular structure called the oviduct. In the first part of the oviduct, the thick part of the egg white or albumen is added to the yolk. As it continues down, the rest of the thinner albumen is added! The developing egg then reaches a structure called the shell gland. There the shell is added and this part takes the longest to add (up to 20 hours!). Once the egg has a shell, it moves into the vagina. In the vagina a coating called the bloom or cuticle is added. This layer protects the egg from bacteria. In North America, we wash off this layer and so we have to refrigerate our eggs to keep them safe to eat. In places like Europe, they leave the bloom on and they don’t have to refrigerate their eggs!

Snake Anatomy

Snake Skeleton

Snake (Tarhmûthethen) Skeleton (Wîchasta tachâ huhu)

In some animals, the two halves of their jaw bone or mandible is fused. This is not the case in snakes. The the two halves of their mandible are left to move independently. This helps snakes to move their prey into their mouths! With this image, you can also appreciate just how many ribs a snake has! The ribs on the snake continue all the way down to the body up until the cloaca or vent. After the vent, the only thing left is the tail!