How do Snakes Pee?
Most animals pee by voiding their bladder into an external opening, but snakes are a bit different. In fact, the way that snakes pee is fascinating – if not a little gross.
What you need to Know about Snake Urination
Snakes pee using a process called cloacal venting. This is the same process that they use to poop, which is why their waste is usually a mix of feces, uric acid and urea. Here’s more information about this unique process:
- It’s an Autonomic Process: When snakes pee, they don’t have to consciously think about it. It’s an autonomic process, just like breathing or blinking – it just happens.
- Urea Is Released: The process of cloacal venting releases urea – a compound found in urine – along with other waste products.
- A Versatile Cloaca: The cloaca is the single external opening from which snakes release any waste. Because its use is so versatile, it’s also known as the all-purpose hole.
- Affectionately Called “Casting:” When snakes pee, they will also often shed their skin. This process is affectionately called casting – it’s a bit like a snake’s version of a shower.
Snake don’t often pee – instead, they will often wait until their waste accumulates until they need to cast, or expel the waste. They may pee shortly after they have just eaten, or when they are too hot, as a way of cooling down.
One interesting fact about snake peeing is that they are not the only animals that employ the cloacal venting process. The spectacled caiman – the smallest of all crocodilians – also pees this way. But instead of urea, they will pass uric acid.
That’s all you need to know about snake pee. Understanding this fascinating process is just one step to understanding how these incredible reptiles live.