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A Necropsy Guide to Serpentes

The postmortem exam is a key diagnostic tool in understanding the reasons for a snake’s morbidity and mortality. Necropsies can provide valuable information to provide a risk assessment for other animals in a population or collection and can help provide closure for a grieving owner. This manuscript reviews the snake necropsy in a systemic, thorough manner, describing normal anatomy and proper collection technique from head to tail.

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Snake Anatomy Basics

Introduction
Snakes are members of the class Reptilia, order Squamata, and suborder Serpentes. There are over 3,500 species of snakes in the world, however, for the most part, the anatomy of the snake is consistent across species.

Snakes have a long narrow body adapted for crawling and their internal anatomy has evolved to fit into a long […]