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There's something strange about the five newly discovered snakes in Ecuador: Unlike most snakes that dine on rats, lizards and other small animals, these slithery reptiles eat snails.
And that's pretty much all these snakes can eat. There are now 75 known species of snail-eaters, according to a new study on the reptiles.
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Indeed, snail-eating snakes have a jawline that has evolved to slurp the snail right out of its shell — but the snakes do this without suction (in other words, it's not the way we slurp oysters from a shell). To extract their escargot, the snakes push their lower jaws into the shell and grasp the flesh of the slimy critter with their curved teeth. Once the snakes have a firm grasp, they pull the prey out without crushing the shell — a process that usually takes a few minutes.
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This snail-slurping "is an interesting adaptation," Arteaga told Live Science. Because not many snakes feed on these snails, the predators don't have much competition for food, he added.
But the snakes have other things to worry about. Arteaga...
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