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
JUL 31, 2020
Plants & Animals
This Fungus Spreads by Manipulating Male Cicadas into Mimicking Females
JUL 31, 2020
This Fungus Spreads by Manipulating Male Cicadas into Mimicking Females
Researchers from West Virginia University (WVU) recently discovered how a parasitic fungus uses male cicadas to spread i ...
AUG 16, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Could Cat Drugs Treat COVID-19 in Humans?
AUG 16, 2020
Could Cat Drugs Treat COVID-19 in Humans?
While COVID-19 may not affect cats much, felines are known to contract another kind of coronavirus that can sometimes be ...
SEP 06, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
Climate Change Caused a Mastodon Migration
SEP 06, 2020
Climate Change Caused a Mastodon Migration
Around 11,000 years ago, megafauna of the earth began to go extinct. Mastodons were some of the largest land animals liv ...
SEP 08, 2020
Plants & Animals
At Least 11 Species of Fish That Can Walk Are Identified
SEP 08, 2020
At Least 11 Species of Fish That Can Walk Are Identified
Using an evolutionary map and CT (computed tomography) scans, an international team of researchers has identified eleven ...
OCT 07, 2020
Plants & Animals
Tasmanian Devils Return to Mainland Australia
OCT 07, 2020
Tasmanian Devils Return to Mainland Australia
For the first time in about 3,000 years, Tasmanian devils have returned to mainland Australia. According to a report fro ...
NOV 17, 2020
Plants & Animals
Taking a Virtual Walk in a Forest Altered by Climate Change
NOV 17, 2020
Taking a Virtual Walk in a Forest Altered by Climate Change
For some people, it's easier to grasp the magnitude of a problem once it can be visualized.
Loading Comments...