Bone Digestion in the Burmese Python

24 05 2011

Bone Digestion in the Burmese Python

Researchers from Glasglow, Scotland have monitored changes that occur in the gut of a python following feeding.  These scientists found a rapid increase in body temperature, as well as cell replication and death of certain cells lining the stomach and intestine following feeding.

Small particles observed in the intestine and colon within hours of feeding was found to have originated from the prey’s skeleton.  These particles were degraded in specialized cells shaped like golf tees and the components are then released into the bloodstream. The ability to digest bone is believed to allow python’s maximum calcium absorption from their meals.

References:

“Making no Bones about it- Digestion in Burmese Pythons.”  Veterinary Forum.  May 2007. P. 26.

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