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Do Snakes Have Necks?

Do snakes have necks or are snakes all tail? This question feels like a riddle, but there’s actually scientific research discussing whether or not snakes have necks. This is one of those exciting questions that’s both a little silly as well as very scientifically serious.

Snakes do have a group of muscles just behind the head that function the way that neck muscles do, but snakes also lack any discernible space between the head and the rest of the body.

When it comes to snakes, the head simply connects into the rest of the body without any gap in between. This means that snakes do not have a neck in the way that most other animals do.

However, there is a group of muscles that allow the snake to turn its head which function similar to neck muscles and other animals. This has caused researchers to have some serious debate about whether or not snakes have necks.

Snakes can still have their necks seriously injured even though scientists aren’t sure they have them. Picking up a snake by its head or the back of its head should never be done for pet snakes.

You should always try to lift the snake by picking up its body in a way that supports its weight. Let’s take a look at the scientific debate behind whether or not snakes have necks.

Do Snakes Have Necks?

Finding the answer to “Do snakes have necks?” is one of the most tricky questions when it comes to discussing these slithering reptiles.

The answer to this question comes down to a few specifics about how the muscles of the snake’s head works in addition to whether or not we consider that to be a neck.

There is some research that considers snakes to have a neck consisting of a group of muscles in between the head and the rest of the body while other researchers just consider this to be the beginning of the rest of the snake.

It might seem like we’re splitting hairs when we’re trying to figure out if a snake has a neck or not, but this is actually an important scientific distinction.

Snakes do not have necks in the same way that people or other animals do. There is no clearly discernible part of their body that connects the head to their torso. Snakes simply begin at one end and end at the other.

However, there is a group of muscles that are located just behind the head of the snake. These muscles are responsible for turning the direction of the head as well as moving it up and down.

In many respects, these function the same way as the muscles in the human neck do. This would signal that a snake does have some kind of neck even though it does not look like the neck that were used to.

Can A Snake Break Its Neck?

There are a lot of misconceptions out there about snakes and those can even include whether or not a snake can break its neck. As it turns out, it’s entirely possible for a snake to break its neck or indeed any part of its back along the length of its body.

Snakes are powerful animals that are very fast and clever, but they can get themselves hurt especially when they’re being handled by people. This is why it’s so important to be gentle and slow when handling your pet snake.

One of the most common ways for a snake to break its neck is when it’s being mishandled by an individual. Picking up a snake up by its neck should never be done with your pet snakes. This is one of the leading causes of snakes breaking their necks.

You should support the weight of the body of your snake when you lift it up just like you would any other animal.

It’s entirely possible for a snake to break its neck from natural causes. Snakes can fall, get into fights with predators and prey animals, or get caught in obstacles in their environments.

Since it’s a little controversial whether or not snakes actually have a neck, most people consider this to be the snake breaking its back rather than breaking its neck.

However, some researchers argue that snakes do have necks and that they constitute a very small region in between the head and the rest of the body which can still break.

Do Snakes Have Throats?

By now you’ve probably gathered that a lot of this conversation revolves around how difficult it is to determine where parts of a snake’s body stop and start just by looking at it from the outside.

How much of a snake’s body would you guess is dedicated to its throat? If you guess the first third of its body, you’d be correct!

As a general rule, the first third of any snake’s body is dedicated to its throat. This includes everything you’d expect in a throat including the muscles that it takes for the snake to swallow its prey.

This is an especially long throat to match an especially long and slender animal. After the throat, we get into the next two thirds of the snake’s body.

The next third of a snake’s body is its stomach. This is where the snake digests its prey slowly over the period of weeks to even months. Snakes have a slow digestive system that processes their prey over time allowing one meal to last a snake for days or even months at a time.

The final thirds of the snake’s body is dedicated to its intestines. This is where the snake will process the digestion that’s happened in the throat and the stomach and ultimately expel any waste.


Whether or not a snake has a neck is still up for debate, but there is some good research out there that suggests that snakes have their own specialized type of neck. Snakes can break their neck if they’re mishandled by people and lifted by the head rather than having your body weight supported. The throat of a snake runs the length of the first third of its body with the rest being dedicated to the stomach and intestines.