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Nature & Environment

Some snakes are now known to hunt in packs

By T.K. Randall
May 26, 2017 · Comment icon 17 comments

The Cuban boa is in danger of being wiped out. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Eduard Horak
Scientists have revealed that some species of snake have learned how to co-operate and hunt in groups.
The very idea of a 'snake pack' might seem strange, but according to a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Tennessee, some snake species have in fact worked out how to combine their efforts to hunt down prey more efficiently.

Of particular note is the behavior of the Cuban boa which is known to hunt bats inside caves by hanging down from the ceiling and snatching the flying mammals out of the air.

The researchers noted that when more than one boa was present in the same cave the reptiles appeared to team up, forming a 'wall' at the entrance which made it harder for the bats to avoid being caught by at least one of the snakes.
The more boas were present, the more successful the group appeared to be, whereas a solitary snake was more likely to leave without a single catch.

Sadly though, such behavior among the snakes is becoming increasingly difficult to observe and document as the reptiles are themselves being hunted by humans for food or as pets.

"I suspect that if their numbers in a cave fall, they can't hunt in groups anymore and might die out even if some of them don't get caught by hunters," said assistant professor Vladimir Dinets.

"A few of these caves are in national parks, but there's a lot of poaching everywhere."

Source: University of Tennessee | Comments (17)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #8 Posted by Imaginarynumber1 7 years ago
You used to be fun.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Lilly 7 years ago
I'm still fun...I just happen to know a great deal about wildlife (was my first job out of college).
Comment icon #10 Posted by docyabut2 7 years ago
Look out thats how humans started
Comment icon #11 Posted by EBE Hybrid 7 years ago
I've never really considered reptiles as pack hunters before, is there some kind of communication involved or just the shear weight of numbers that make them a more successful hunter when in a pack? Either way, I wouldn't want to be on a plane with them
Comment icon #12 Posted by khol 7 years ago
Other reptiles like alligators and crocs are known to hunt together  
Comment icon #13 Posted by simplybill 7 years ago
I don't know if these snakes are hunting in packs, but they seem to understand the concept:
Comment icon #14 Posted by third_eye 7 years ago
I don't think its much of a pack strategy, much more of a mob mentality  ... not unlike a lynching mob with an appetite for a feeding free for all ... ~
Comment icon #15 Posted by Trihalo42 7 years ago
Comment icon #16 Posted by Susanc241 7 years ago
Racer snakes chase baby iguanas en mass on beaches but whether they are hunting as a pack or just each snake out for what it can get for itself is not clear.
Comment icon #17 Posted by Matt221 7 years ago
This Pretty amazing to watch

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