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Re: Huge Freakin' Snake!



Dann Pigdon wrote:

> At the scale of an anaconda, a snake is probably about as fast as a jaguar 
> (at least in initial
> bursts). Certainly an anaconda is physically stronger.

To me, it would be difficult to compare the force of both animals as a
whole: certainly the snake has more constricting strenght, but the cat
bites more forcefully and its legs, logically, are capable of making
more force than the diminutive limb rudiments of the snake.

> I suspect a snake the size of Titanoboa was
> a slow-coach ambush predator - even more so on land than in the water (if it 
> spent much time on
> land at all). The relative difference, both in size and escape speed, is far 
> smaller between an
> anaconda and a jaguar than it would have been between a Tinanoboa-sized snake 
> and a large
> theropod.

I do not know too much how relative velocity of movements decrease
with increase in size in snakes when compared with other land
vertebrates. I also suppose the theropod will be also relatively
slower than their jaguar-sized cousins. So, I do not know why to think
the snake velocity of movements will be so much slowed when compared
with that of the big dinosaur. Of course, size is not always related
with velocity of movements. Many animals larger than sloths and
tortoises can move faster than them.

> Anancondas tend to hunt mainly in and around water. Jaguars tend to prefer 
> terra firma. A jaguar
> near the water's edge is usually a nervous jaguar, while a fully-grown 
> anaconda on dry land (in
> janguar territory) is probably equally nervous. The two species are fairly 
> evenly matched - jaguars
> might be a bit quicker, more agile, and have better endurance, however 
> anacondas are more
> powerful (and no slow-coaches themselves in short bursts).

There are videos on Youtube of jaguars killing anacondas and a caiman
slightly smaller than itself, in both cases, at a river. I do not
doubt an anaconda can from time to time kill a jaguar, as the (more
gracile than anaconda) python is known to have preyed on (more gracile
than jaguars) leopards. Jaguars go much to water, as it atracts too
much prey. They much river-dwelling prey, eat turtles, fishes, giant
nutria, caimans, capybaras, the two latter also prey of large
anacondas.

> Killing it on sight is a good strategy. Where you find a lot of lions, you 
> tend not to find a lot of
> cheetahs. There is little overlap between their prefered prey, however that 
> doesn't stop lions from
> attempting to kill cheetahs on sight. If it wasn't for lions, cheetahs would 
> almost certainly be
> more numerous than they are.

Likely, but that does not mean the cheetah dissapears from the lion
area, the same goes in the case of coyote and wolf.

> Even if a snake had the same mass as a large theropod, it's greatly reduced 
> speed and agility
> would have made it susceptable to a quick bite behind the head (ending the 
> contest quickly).
> Walking around on stilts with your vital parts beyond easy striking range of 
> a big slow snake
> might have emboldened a theropod in such an encounter (like a giant secretary 
> bird).

putting aside the theme of the velocity, the theropod has also some
problems if we want to play devil's advocate: the relatively long neck
is exposed when the theropod strikes, and there is a video in which a
python smaller than a monitor lizard which bites it at the middle
surrounds the neck of the varanid and kills it. Varanids, as
theropods, have long necks. Also, once the snake surrounds them, they
seem to be less manouverable to wrestle and escape than leopards and
jaguars.

I do not know of secretary birds attacking constrictor snakes of their
weight, and even in such a case, they use the feathered wings to fool
the attacking snake, which would likely be not used for large
theropods which generaly possess shorter forelimbs.

> Large ectotherm verses larger
> endotherm tends to be a more mismatched contest than that between 
> medium-sized endotherm
> and small endotherm.

May be. This seems to be somewhat general, through, and would not be
the same in all cases. Crocodiles and constricting snakes seem to be
better defended in a fight than lizards or frogs, for example. Mammals
as bold as mustelids should be more likely to overcome the defenses of
the smaller animal than the generally more cautious canids, felids,
and ursids. However, particular matches do not always imply
displacement from a given area. Leopards live along with smaller
varanids and colubrids in the tropics of Africa and Asia, and eat some
of these from time to time, yet these squamates do not dissapear.