Thursday, February 28, 2008

Forked Tongues

Well, the weather is really warming up. Consequently our snake friends have been seen sunning themselves at Tsal-Luk Wah. (say that 10 times fast!) Three snakes were seen snuggling together in an area that burned last year. Only see two heads? The third one darted off into a rodent hole just before the picture was taken. Our new West Eugene Wetlands site host, William, has been seeing snake babies out here as well.

Since reptiles smell with their tongues, a forked tongue is very helpful. The forks of the tongue literally bring in very, very small bits of scent into the snakes' mouth. This is then transferred to an organ in its mouth that it uses to smell. (What that means is that the smell bits go into the snakes' mouth on the tongues and then the snakes can tell if there is something good to eat close by!) That sure is different than the way we do it, huh?

These were taken by Paul Gordon, City of Eugene Restoration Technical Specialist. Thanks for the great photos, Paul!

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