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Re: Pure predation



>Are there examples of snakes which AFAIK are pure predators eating dead
>animals?  The egg eating snake of Africa might be an example of a pure
>predator altho all eggs are not fertilized, so ? alive.  Snakes that
>exclusively prey on other snakes probably take only live prey.  Purely
>arboreal snakes would have a hard time finding dead prey altho I would
>dislike the word always and never in certain contexts like this.  I could
>never get any of my snakes to take dead prey altho I read where others used
>thawed prey.  I imagine there are also spiders which take only live prey,
>but I cannot state this for certain or give you a reference.  AFAIK snakes
>and spiders are purely carnivorous.

Well, you can't call them scavengers but at least you can say they eat
totally inanimate objects, which from one perspective would apply to
already dead animals (not ones that snakes first kill themselves). It
appears unlikely that snakes would want to go after a carcass, particularly
at an advanced state of decomposition. Jared Diamond in an old Discover
article said that some snakes are killed because they happened to consume
too big a prey, and the carcass decayed inside their bodies, releasing
putrefying gases that killed them. As he said, it's a race between the
snake and the microbes to digest the carcass first.


Raymond Thaddeus C. Ancog
Mines and Geosciences Bureau
Philippines