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Inside Look: Gallery of Animal Guts in Action

Toad Lungs
A live cane toad's lungs are captured in action with a computed tomography (CT) technique.
(Image: © Henrik Lauridsen and Kasper Hansen, MR Research Center, Aarhus University Hospital, Skejby, Denmark)

Fasting Pythons

Fasting Pythons

(Image credit: Henrik Lauridsen and Kasper Hansen, MR Research Center, Aarhus University Hospital, Skejby, Denmark)

Fasting Burmese pythons were scanned before and at two, 16, 24, 40, 48, 72 and 132 hours after ingestion of one rat. The succession of images revealed a gradual disappearance of the body of the rat, accompanied by an overall expansion of the snake's intestine, shrinking of the gallbladder, and a 25-percent increase in heart volume.

Python Eating Three Rats

Python Eating Three Rats

(Image credit: Henrik Lauridsen and Kasper Hansen, MR Research Center, Aarhus University Hospital, Skejby, Denmark)

In one experiment, scientists fed a python three rats and watched as the snacks descended through the snake's gut and vanished.

Python Eating One Rat

Python Eating One Rat

(Image credit: Henrik Lauridsen and Kasper Hansen, MR Research Center, Aarhus University Hospital, Skejby, Denmark)

The scientists used magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography to scan a python's body while the snake was eating a rat, showing the rat mid-way through the body as it was being digested.

Henrik Lauridsen and Kasper Hansen, MR Research Center, Aarhus University Hospital, Skejby, Denmark

Henrik Lauridsen and Kasper Hansen, MR Research Center, Aarhus University Hospital, Skejby, Denmark

(Image credit: Henrik Lauridsen and Kasper Hansen, MR Research Center, Aarhus University Hospital, Skejby, Denmark)

A live cane toad's lungs are captured in action with a computed tomography (CT) technique.

Turtle Blood Vessels

Turtle Blood Vessels

(Image credit: Henrik Lauridsen and Kasper Hansen, MR Research Center, Aarhus University Hospital, Skejby, Denmark)

A live turtle's blood vessels are captured in action with a magnetic resonance imaging technique.

Alligator Anatomy

Alligator Anatomy

(Image credit: Henrik Lauridsen and Kasper Hansen, MR Research Center, Aarhus University Hospital, Skejby, Denmark)

A CT scan reveals the skeletal anatomy of a live alligator.

Aligator MRI

Inner Aligator

(Image credit: MR Research Center, Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark)

Scientists used MRI scanning to reveal the inner anatomy of an alligator. Contrasting agents were used to highlight specific organs in the MRI and computed tomography (CT) images.