[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Re: storing a food source

On Thu, Sep 17th, 2009 at 8:48 AM, Augusto Haro <augustoharo@gmail.com> wrote:

> Thanks for the data on snakes. May it be that these snakes lower their
> metabolism after the abundance season? 

I suspect they'd almost certainly have to lower their metabolism, since they'd 
be waiting for at 
least eight months for their next major meal. That doesn't stop them gorging 
themselves on 
hatchlings when they're available though. I doubt they'd simply let the food 
hang around in their 
stomaches undigested for that long though, so they'd pretty much have to store 
fat on themselves 
for the lean times. This is thought to be why these island snakes have 
undergone gigantism rather 
than insular dwarfism - to enable them to pack on as much fat as possible (and 
to have the gape 
necessary for swallowing chicks).

>... and/or cannibally eating smaller individuals?

I'd think that such a strategy would quickly wipe out juveniles and drive the 
subspecies (Notechis 
ater serventyi) to extinction. Most of the islands in the Furneaux group are 
fairly small. Then again, 
females typically have between 20 and 30 live young at a time, so the survival 
rate to adulthood 
wouldn't need to be very high.

Apparently they also feed on frogs and small mammals (and no doubt insects for 
newborn snakes), 
however fully adult animals seem to rely mainly on seasonal gorging of mutton 
bird chicks. "Rats 
and mice and such small deer" (er... frogs) would seem to be poor fare for a 2m 
long tiger snake 
as thick as your arm. The larger adults are probably not all that good at 
catching small agile 
creatures anyway.



Dann Pigdon
GIS / Archaeologist                Australian Dinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia               http://home.alphalink.com.au/~dannj