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Re: True Predator

Tony Canning wrote:
> 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.
>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.  

There could be another reason for this behaviour. Many snakes rely
on infrared receptors to locate prey. I imagine that dead things
do not give off much body heat. I've noticed that when feeding
captive snakes dead food it has to be practically thrust
into their face with a pair of tongs. Perhaps they can't see the
food if it is not radiating body heat. I know that smell probably
plays a part too, but perhaps prey has to both smell and 'look'
right (in the infrared that is) in order for the snake not to
become confused. Monitor lizards do not have infrared receptors
and seem to rely on a combination of sight and smell (probably more
of the latter) and they have no problem locating and eating dead
        Dann Pigdon
        Melbourne, Australia

        Dinosaur Reconstructions:
        Australian Dinosaurs: