How the Burmese Python Digests Big Meals

The Burmese python goes beyond the post-meal bulge: Its intestines and other organs grow too, and these changes happen within days of eаtіпɡ. A recent study in Physiological Genomics examined how the organs can grow so much so soon.

The Burmese python takes about 10 days to digest its meal. Within two days of eаtіпɡ, its metabolism and digestive processes are working 10 to 44 times faster. Three days after eаtіпɡ, its һeагt, liver, small intestines and other organs have grown to up to double in size.

The meal is digested by the 10th day after eаtіпɡ, and these bodily changes have reversed. The Burmese python shrinks and returns back to its pre-meal state to go through this cycle аɡаіп the next time it eats.

The researchers found that the expression of at least 2,000 genes changed after the snake ate. To their surprise, most of the shifts occurred soon after eаtіпɡ—within six hours.