Photo credit: Daily Mail

Some snakes are capable of attacking their preys with a fatal force and drastic accuracy even in the dead of night when most animals are blind because of the darkness. This snakes use the cloak of darkness to lure their prey.

This snakes are capable of overpowering their prey in the night, while other snakes can not and this is due to a unique organ that they possess and other snakes do not.

It has long been a mystery how these reptiles can attack with that kind of force in such an overwhelming darkness with accuracy but researchers might have been able to solve the riddle behind this seemingly superpower.

The heat that is emitted from the prey’s body is turned into a thermal image by the pit organ of the serpents, the pit organ is found in the nose of this reptiles.

Only specific snakes are capable of hunting in the dark, and this is all thanks to the fact that they possess the pit organ, including boa constrictors and pythons.

Researchers from the University of Houston concluded that the answer to this long time mystery can be found in an occurrence which is known as pyroelectricity.

This occurrence is detected mostly in crystals where the atoms inside a material become polarised and, due to this, generate an electrical field.

They believed that if such a material was there, the electrical signals it generated from the heat could send an image of the surroundings to the brain.

‘We realised that there is a mystery going on in the snake world,’ said Professor Pradeep Sharma, co-author of the study.

‘Some snakes can see in total darkness. It would be easily explained if the snakes had a pyroelectric material in their bodies, but they do not.’

They then correlated this contemplation to the snake mystery and made use of a computer model to detect how it may work.

They discovered that the pit organ in the reptiles’ nose probably acts as an antenna and the cells located inside the pit organ membrane have the capacity to operate as a pyroelectric material.

‘The fact that these cells can act like a pyroelectric material, that’s the missing connection to explain their vision,’ Professor Sharma said.

However, the researchers are yet to find out the precise way in which snakes do this, they have only been able to decipher the mechanism they probably utilise.


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