Nature & Environment
Some snakes are now known to hunt in packs
By T.K. Randall
May 26, 2017 · 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
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