How many bones does a ball python have?

I can’t seem to find an exact number on Google.

(ps I don’t think this went through the first time I posted it, but I’m not sure, so if it’s a duplcate thread just ignore it).

Interesting question. Snakes are born with all the vertebrae (and attached ribs) that they’ll ever have; that is, as they grow, they don’t gain more bones.

Extrapolating from this table from this paper, a ball python of around 4ft would likely have just over 200 vertebrae. So 200 + 400 ribs, plus a skull, four-ish bones for the illium and pelvic spur (remnant hind limbs) = 605.

Do you count the scull as a single bone? Because it consists of many little interconnected bones. Frontals, parietals, nasals, premaxillae, maxillae, dentaries, palatines, pterygoids, vomers etc. Reptilian sculls have many more bones than mammalian ones.

Coincidentally, those that are homologous with mammalian ear bones!

While individuals may not change the number of bones they have, I wonder if the number of vertebrae may vary within species.

The individual skull bones are counted separately, as are composite bones like the pelvis (which of course does not apply to snakes).

I hadn’t thought about that!

It’s just that I worked at a camp petting zoo this summer, and the kids were always asking me if the snakes had bones, and I wanted to be able to give them a specific number instead of something vague like “Tons. Tons of bones.”

But there are only 3 mammalian earbones, no? The mallues, the incus, and the stapes?

is there anyway I can edit or delete stuff from a post i miswrote? i’m not feeling well, man.

Why do you ask?:smiley:

Not after five minutes, but I think we know what you meant.

Reptiles have a single ear bone, the stapes. The malleus and incus developed from the articular and quadrate bones that form the jaw joint in reptiles.

Wait, Malleus, when did you get back?!

Last night, apparently.

I hadn’t seen any of your caring for/getting bit by exotic creatures threads in a long while. Welcome back!*

*If indeed you were away. If you’ve been around all along, I’ll just awkwardly see myself out.

yeah, I kinda haven’t been around much in the last couple years.

(If it makes you feel any better, I got viciously bitten by a neurotic rabbit three times this summer. Campers and counselors thought I was brave to hang out with the snakes- no, it’s the bunnies you gotta watch for).

Yes, rabbits bite really hard. I have been bitten by many small animals, but rabbit bites hurt badly. Although first are hamsters in my opinion. However the magnitude of the bite depends on the animal. My rabbit that knows me well, if she bites, she will do it just as a warning and she will bite little. On the other hand, another rabbit, a daughter of my own, that I have gave to another house became really aggressive in her cage/territory and bites hard. Snakes have no real power when biting, as their sculls are lightweight and expandable. Their backwards curving teeth are the real problem.

Why would snakes have oars? They don’t even have arms!

Don’t some snakes have remnants of a pelvis?

Yes, and boids (boas and pythons) have external pelvic spurs that are essentially vestigial legs, complete with a tiny femur.

Would a snake actually have twice as many ribs as vertebrae, though? We mammals certainly have sets of a vertebra flanked by a pair of ribs, but not for the entire length of our bodies: We have no ribs in our necks, or our tails, or the lower portion of our torsos. I’m not sure exactly what proportions of a snake’s length correspond to those parts (it all looks the same from the outside), but surely there’s at least some?

That’s true. A snake’s ribs stop around about the vent, which in a ball python, leaves about two inches of tail, just vertebrae. Probably wouldn’t mess up my original estimate by too much :slight_smile:

They can if they’ve been played with. Arabian horses have one fewer vertebra than other breeds.

And what about the bone python?