There are actually two openings on the roof of the snake’s mouth, which lead to an organ called Jacobson’s organ. If the snake touches its tongue to the object and then back to the Jacobson’s organ, it will send a message to the brain which will allow the snake to explore the smell and know whether it is food, an enemy, etc. The snake’s tongue is forked so it will fit perfectly into the Jacobson’s organ.
Additionally, the snake smells for airborne particles left by their prey. They collect these airborne particles which they the touch back to their Jacobson’s organ to learn about the prey’s distance, direction, species, etc.
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