The Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake
By Sarah Fox
The Integumentary System
The Muscular and Skeletal System
The Muscular System
The Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake has scutes (wider scales) located on the underside of the reptile that allow movement. There are hundreds of scutes on this snake, each individual scute containing a pair of ribs that has its own set of muscles. Because of the amount of separate muscles, the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake is able (along with most other snakes) to lift parts of their body. These scutes push off the ground and move the snake forward.
The Skeletal System
The Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake has a backbone made of many vertebrate that is attached to ribs. Snakes can have up to and frequently have more then 400 vertebrate which make these reptiles so agile and flexible. The ribs are single-headed, curved, and do not wrap around completely. Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes have a skull with hinged jaws that allow the snake to consume prey that is larger then the snake is in diameter.
THE NERVOUS SYSTEM
The Nervous System
The Respiratory System
The Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake has, similar to humans, a trachea, bronchi, and lungs. In snakes the trachea is located at the back of the mouth (oral cavity) and extends into two bronchi. The left bronchus extends to the left lung, which most of the time is quite small or vestigial. A vestigial organ is small, degenerate, and non-functioning. The right bronchus extends to the right lung. The first portion of the lungs are vascular and contain blood vessels which allows for gas exchange. The second part of an Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake's lung is nonvascular, lacks blood vessels, and is an air sac that extends to the tail area. The air sacs regulate pressure in the body cavity. A snakes lungs are different sizes, in most cases the left lung is smaller than the right lung. Their respiratory system is quite complex compared to an echinoderm or sponge, but still not quite as complex as a human. Snakes lack a diaphragm, which is essential to human life, so air enters and leaves the lung due to movement of the ribs and body muscles.
The Circulatory System
The Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake has a three chambered, double loop closed system heart which consists of two atria and an incomplete septum which divides the ventricle. The atria receive blood from the body and lungs, whilst the large ventricle pumps blood in the arteries and is taken away from the heart to the body. Also, forceful pumping of the heart is required based on the body size of snake. The Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, along with other reptiles, have a unique adaptation that allows the blood in the tail to pass through the kidneys first, before returning to the general body circulation. This adaptation is known as the renal portal system. This is significant in an unhealthy reptile because if they are injected with a drug into its tail, the drug may lose some effectiveness since it passes through the kidneys first (the kidneys eliminate unwanted substances). Snakes do have a more complex Circulatory System because it is closed, unlike snails, slugs, and arthropods who have an open system.
The Digestive and Excretory System
Digestive and Excretory System
The Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes are able to eat 40% of its body weight, in most cases eating small prey whole such as rats, lizards, and rabbits. Prey is consumed through the mouth where the animal injects venom into the it, the prey then travels down the esophagus. Depending on the size of the consumption, digestion can take several days. In the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, most digestion occurs in the stomach where digestive enzymes and gastric juices are secreted in order to break down the prey. The food then passes into the small intestine where the liver and pancreas secrete more digestive enzymes that allow the absorption and breakdown of the prey. It is then moved to the large intestine which carries the remnants to the cloacal opening where the feces exit through the rectum. The cloaca is a chamber that receives products from he digestive, urinary, and reproductive systems. Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes quite a complex digestive system compared to those of sponges and pores. The Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake has the most complex excretory system contained in an animal. Snakes rely on their kidneys to filter out ammonia which is changed to urea and is then sent to be released in the urine. The liver pancreas, and stomach all excrete enzymes that allow the breakdown of food and excretion of waste. Overall both the digestive and excretory system is not quite as complex as humans, but it is more evolved than the sponge and pore.
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