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Can some snakes cartwheel to escape or terrify predators?


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In research published in BiotropicaInvestigators reported that the dwarf cane snake (Long false heads) performs cartwheels when threatened. This is the first time such an active rolling motion has been documented in snakes, with photos and a detailed description.

The dwarf reed snake is a small, nocturnal snake that lives in areas of Southeast Asia. Typical defense mechanisms used by young snakes against predators include flight, camouflage, coloration, scents, feigning death, and intimidation. Some snakes also use passive rolling, but investigators have noted that the Dwarf Reed Snake performs an active rolling motion by repeatedly launching its body coils into the air and rolling it downward.

In addition to identifying a complex defense mechanism used by the Dwarf Reed Snake, the findings also provide insight into the snakes’ locomotor capabilities.

“My colleagues and I were excited when we succeeded in capturing images that documented gliding behavior in this species. We think this behavior may be more prevalent in other small snake species, especially members of the subfamily Calamariinae, but the lack of records may be a reason,” said corresponding author Ivan Seng Huat. Kuah, Ph.D., University of Malaysia Sabah: “An artifact of the challenges in detecting and monitoring these secretive species.”

more information:
Observations and Description of an Escape Mechanism Rare in a Snake: Spinning in Long Balls in Pseudorabdion longiceps (Cantor, 1847) (Squamata, Colubridea), Biotropica (2023). DOI: 10.1111 / btp 13213

the quote: Can some snakes wheel to escape or terrify predators? (2023, April 5) Retrieved April 5, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-04-snakes-cartwheels-startle-predators.html

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