JUN 19, 2017 8:58 AM PDT

This Snake Hunts in Coordinated Packs

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

The idea of being hunted by just one snake is scary enough to most people, but when the thought comes around of being hunted by multiple snakes at once, the freak-out factor goes through the roof.

Unfortunately for those who don’t like playing tag with a bevy of snakes at once, a new study published in the journal Animal Behavior and Cognition reveals that some species of snakes actually hunt in packs rather than hunting by their lonesome.

In particular, the researchers were studying Cuban boas when they came upon this coordinated hunting behavior. This is the first time that the behavior has ever been spotted in a snake species before, but to be fair, experts don’t spend much time studying snake behavior, so their psyche mostly remains a mystery.

Cuban boas apparently exhibit a form of sophisticated coordinated hunting, despite being incredibly unsocial.

Image Credit: PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay

"It is possible that coordinated hunting is not uncommon among snakes, but it will take a lot of very patient field research to find out," study lead author Vladimir Dinets from the University of Tennessee explained in a statement.

Related: Blue coral snakes have a venom unlike any other snake

Packs of the Cuban boas were spotted developing a barricade of snakes that would trap fruit bats in their tracks as they dangled from the roofs of caves, preventing them from escaping.

More importantly, the snakes would also go out of their way to position themselves in ways that they would be fully aware of other snakes’ positions. This allowed them to keep better track of other individuals in the pack to coordinate their strikes and ensure predatory success.

For what it’s worth, this kind of behavior is much different than just hunting in groups like a vast majority of the animal kingdom does. No form of social behavior was observed, as snakes are naturally solitary creatures, while other animals hunt in groups for the social aspect of things.

This is instead intelligent coordinated behavior in which the non-social snakes are actively aware of not just their surroundings, but also of their brethren, and act accordingly.

Related: Sea snakes may have another sense that we know nothing about

"Coordinated hunting requires higher behavioral complexity because each animal has to take other hunters' actions into account," Dinets continued.

This doesn’t mean that every snake in the pack gets to feast, which is normally the case in group hunting, but it does mean that the snakes worked together to increase the likelihood of hunting success.

With more research, we might be able to learn whether or not this kind of sophisticated hunting tactic is unique to Cuban boas or if other snake species exhibit it too.

Source: CBS

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
APR 15, 2021
Plants & Animals
A Protein That Creates a Fibonacci Sequence in Flower Heads
APR 15, 2021
A Protein That Creates a Fibonacci Sequence in Flower Heads
You're probably familiar with sunflowers, a member of the Asteraceae family. But the biology of the plant is a bit diffe ...
MAY 05, 2021
Microbiology
Is This the Missing Link?
MAY 05, 2021
Is This the Missing Link?
An image of Bicellum brasieri by Prof P.K. Strother. The fossil suggests multicellular structures existed 400 million ye ...
MAY 10, 2021
Plants & Animals
Sharks Can Use Earth's Magnetic Field to Navigate
MAY 10, 2021
Sharks Can Use Earth's Magnetic Field to Navigate
How do sharks make transatlantic journeys without losing their way? New research published this week in Current Biology ...
JUN 08, 2021
Plants & Animals
Puppies Are Naturally Able to Communicate With People
JUN 08, 2021
Puppies Are Naturally Able to Communicate With People
The study involved 375 budding service dogs from the Canine Companions service dog organization seen in this image court ...
JUL 18, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
Genetic Analysis Reveals Cannabis First Grown in China
JUL 18, 2021
Genetic Analysis Reveals Cannabis First Grown in China
Genetic analysis of over 100 cannabis Sativa genomes has revealed that the plants’ wild ancestors likely came from ...
AUG 03, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Outdoor Activities and Recreation Under Stress
AUG 03, 2021
Outdoor Activities and Recreation Under Stress
Outdoor recreation has long been shown to be good for your health. Walking through parks lowers blood pressure ...
Loading Comments...