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Re: True Predator



On Feb 13,  1:41pm, Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. wrote:

> To any ophidiologists on the net: is it true that most snakes will not eat
> food unless they are close to body temperature?
>

>-- End of excerpt from Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.


Er, whose body temperature?  Snakes eating endotherms seem to expect their
prey to be warm, but many snakes eat poikilotherms.  Contrary to popular
belief, snakes are probably not obligate predators, but are obligate
fairly-freshly-killed-food-eaters [ I don't think there's a term for that,
but there should be!].  This is because the food is swallowed whole and if
decomposition is too advanced the products of bacterial action could
poison the snake before digestion can occur.  Snakes rarely come across
freshly killed prey unless they are the killers.  There is at least 1
population of island snakes, Coluber sp., (hippocrepis?) that get about
30% of their diet from road-kills - they will scavange given the
opportunity, but opportunities are rare.

Tony Canning
tonyc@foe.co.uk