I recently saw video of anaconda (?) swallowing a large alligator; my question is how can the snake digest hide, bones, claws etc that doesn’t seem digestible?
Title edited to better indicate subject
Snakes have very powerful digestive enzymes and acids that can break down flesh and bones. However, they will usually excrete things like hair, claws, and horns.
Here is an article (referencing a study) on python digestion. Anaconda digestion is likely similar except for their strong preference for buns.
According to this site, the prey’s residence time in the snake’s digestive tract is on the order of weeks; compare with just a couple of days for the human digestive tract to turn food into poop.
This site shows a sequence of X-rays illustrating the digestion process for a gator swallowed by a python. In this case, the process took about seven days, and yes, they indicated that hard parts like bones, claws, and teeth eventually got digested along with everything else.
Ninja’d by a bunch of ophidiophiles.
We think of bones as inorganic tissue, but they contain a lot of nutritious organic material that can be digested. Hyenas are well known for their ability to eat bones, while of course dogs like to eat them as well. And the Bearded Vulture or Lammergeier eats mostly bones. The acid concentration of its stomach has been estimated to have a pH as low as 1 (which is extremely acidic.)
When I have KFC, I cut up the bones with gardening hand shears and give them to the cats, who are ecstatic. (Same goes for Thanksgiving turkey skeletons.) They eat every bit.
I give chicken bones to my rats sometimes. Usually within a day the bones have been reduced to tiny splinters. I don’t know how much they actually ingest vs. just chewing it into pieces and scattering them around, but I’m sure they eat at least some of it.
Herbivores need minerals like sodium and calcium because there is so little of it in plant matter like leaves and seeds. Rodents gnaw on bones especially for the minerals.