Why Do Snakes Yawn?

Posted by Christy Caplan
Snake Yawn

Have you ever watched your snake yawn? This is also referred to as "mouth gaping" and snake owners should watch and observe their snake to determine how often this is occurring and under what circumstances.

The reason for yawning or mouth gaping may mean nothing, but it may also point to serious illness. If your snake doesn't stop yawning, you should consider making a vet appointment immediately.

Snakes for Pets explains there are multiple reasons you may find your snake yawning!

Why do snakes yawn?

One reason Snakes for Pets tells us snakes yawn is to stretch out their jaws before and after a meal, and after resting for a long time.

1. Before snakes eat

Your snake may be getting hungry, or this may be something that a snake does to prepare for its meal when it notices that you're about to feed it.

This resembles yawning because the snake has to stretch its jaws open wide to prepare its mouth for swallowing large prey by stretching the ligaments in its jaws. 

2. After snakes eat

They may be aligning their jaws after eating. They have to eat their prey whole! The act of eating may cause some discomfort, so be sure to watch your pet snake's mouth.

It will likely yawn at least once after a meal.

3. Respiratory infection

This act of yawning could be a sign of illness or a sign of disease.

Snakes can gape because they aren't getting enough air. Yawning opens the airways, allowing more air into the lungs. Respiratory infections can cause a snake to have issues breathing.

So a snake yawns perhaps because it's having trouble breathing!

4. Inclusion body disease

Snakes for Pets tells us that Inclusion body disease is a viral disease that affects captive boids, especially the boa constrictor. While there is a cure for respiratory infection, there is no cure for IBD, and the condition is fatal. So this is a symptom of an illness.

5. Stretching 

Snakes are immobile for long periods throughout the day and night. When it starts to move again, it may gape.

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Why Do Snakes Yawn?