Social Question

adr's avatar

Theoretical snakes eating each others tails...

Asked by adr (417 points ) May 1st, 2011

Alright, stay with me here:

Imagine two snakes, completely flexible, always hungry, and immortal.

They each begin eating each others tail, forming a circle. They eat at the exact same speed.

What happens?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

28 Answers

ucme's avatar

I’m guessing they eventually wind up giving each other head! Worse ways to die i’m sure.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

They kiss and make up. ;)

woodcutter's avatar

Sounds like you are describing American politics.

ninjacolin's avatar

they would starve.

MasterAir16's avatar

It won’t bite the tails while both snakes are chasing around.

Jeruba's avatar

They both take one last bite and— >>> poof! <<< all gone.

yankeetooter's avatar

And your name is @adr…and you’re asking a snake question…Is your user name intentional then?

dxs's avatar

I remember reading a fable about this. I think that it involved a snake and a frog though. They supposedly ate eachother’s last bite at the same time that they both vanished…
In a real sense, you’d just endup having a snake inside a snake inside a snake, etc (theoretically ★ ∞) because snakes do not bite, they swallow things whole. The circle would get smaller, but the snakes would get fatter.

adr's avatar

but it couldn’t become an infinitely small and fat circle could it? I mean, we started out with two non-infinitely sized snakes!

Jeruba's avatar

You made them immortal. You didn’t say anything about their size, finite or otherwise.

Seems to me we’re necessarily in the realm of the speculative here.

adr's avatar

@yankeetooter , no, its not intentional… but I don’t think I get the reference. What’s adr got to do with snakes?

@Jeruba , yes, they’re immortal but not infinitely long or fat :)

Jeruba's avatar

adder

dxs's avatar

@adr In reality, no. It would just get to a point where they’d either eat eachothers’ brains or explode. @Jeruba made an interesting point lurve If they are immortal, then they will become an infinite fat blob of snake. Immortal is infinitely living, so therefore the same concept may apply to cannibalism with not being able to die.

adr's avatar

@dxs, but I don’t get it! how can two finitely SIZED snakes, become an infinitely SIZED fat blob?? I mean there’s a finite amount of snake flesh available.

yankeetooter's avatar

Thanks for explaining, @Jeruba !

dxs's avatar

They would continue to eat eachothers’ bodies as well as their own inside of the other’s. You are talking in theory and so am I. Things like this can not happen in real life, and our brains are not accustomed to thinking in terms of infinity, which is why it may be a hard concept to grasp. We always think of a start and end to something. Thinking of no start or in this case, no end is too much for a human brain. Oh, and it would not become infinitely sized due to the law of conservation of mass.

Dutchess_III's avatar

They’d eventually realize how stupid they were being but then they’d probably die.

MilkyWay's avatar

The snake heads would be inable to move, just by themselves.
They wouldn’t be able to get near each other due to he lack of movement, as they have no bodies.

zenvelo's avatar

They’d get into a tight ball o’snake….

El_Cadejo's avatar

Most likely a tare in the space time continuum.

roundsquare's avatar

Assuming the snake skin is infinity thin…. you end up with nothing.

Otherwise, each snake ends up eating itself and the other snake until you get to the limit of strechniess of their skin.

dxs's avatar

@lloydbird Great answer! I gave lurve to you!

aprilsimnel's avatar

OK, that’s the big clue in Red Dwarf, you know. It was written on the box under the pool table that held the baby!

WasCy's avatar

You’re describing a variant on the myth of Ouroboros, which is also an analogue to “time”.

yankeetooter's avatar

It all comes back to Doctor Who in the end…

creative1's avatar

They go around and around and around without stopping, nonstop eating…...

chocolatechip's avatar

Nothing would happen. They would continue to circle around each other infinitely. Since as snake A tries to swallow snake B, snake A has to move forward, and as it moves forward, snake B has to move forward to catch up, and as snake B moves forward, snake A has to move forward to catch up, etc.

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