Snake Neurological System

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Snakes have a typical reptilian nervous system.


The brain is elongate and consists of forebrain (telencephalon and diencephalon) and brain stem (midbrain and hindbrain). The most significant difference to mammals and birds is the presence of the dorsal ventricular ridge in the telencephalon. The auditory portion of the midbrain appears better developed than would be expected. The tangential vestibular nucleus is well developed. The optic lobes of the midbrain receive primary input from the eye and secondarily from olfactory and auditory centres. The medulla of the hindbrain is better developed than that of lizards and partially encloses the large fourth ventricle. There is no true subarachnoid space in reptiles, which is an important consideration if attempting to collect cerebrospinal fluid.

Spinal cord

The spinal cord extends the length of the vertebral column to the tip of the tail and gives rise to dorsal (sensory) and ventral (motor) roots at each vertebral segment. The sympathetic fibres are not distinct from spinal nerves in the trunk. There are locomotor centres in the spinal cord. Recovery from spinal cord injury may therefore a better prognosis in reptiles than in mammals.

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