Infrared imaging in vipers: differential responses of crotaline and viperine snakes to paired thermal targets

Pit vipers use infrared-sensitive pit organs to accurately target homeothermic prey even in the absence of visual cues. It has been suggested that other vipers, including large ambush predators of the genus Bitis, also may use radiant infrared information for predatory targeting.We compared behavioral responses of pit vipers and snakes of the viperine genus Bitis […]

Influence of prey odor concentration on the poststrike trailing behavior of the Northern Pacific rattlesnake

Rattlesnake predatory behavior is defined by a strike and then release of rodent prey. Poststrike, the released envenomated prey dashes off and dies. Therefore, the snake must relocate the prey relying largely upon chemosensory cues emitted by the struck prey. Assessing these poststrike chemosensory cues is important to the snake as these cues may contain […]

Predatory behavior of the snake Bothrops jararaca and its adaptation to captivity

Abstract 10.1002/zoo.1038.abs Habituation to captivity is difficult for some species. Understanding the motivational elements involved in predation may ease this habituation. Seventy-one Brazilian jararaca snakes (Bothrops jararaca [Wied, 1824], Viperidae, Crotalinae) recently captured and never fed in captivity were tested for predatory behavior on rodents. Lighting was adapted to allow predatory sessions to occur during […]

Death feigning by grass snakes in response to handling by human “predators.”

Death feigning, a variant of tonic immobility, is usually interpreted as a last-resort antipredator measure. The authors describe death feigning in grass snakes (Natrix natrix) and test some of its potential correlates. Death feigning was seen in 66% of wild-caught snakes but was not seen in hatchlings from laboratory-incubated eggs. Minimal indication of death feigning […]

Stimulus control of predatory behavior by the Iberian wall lizard (Podarcis hispanica, Sauria, Lacertidae): Effects of familiarity with prey

The authors examine the relative roles of vision and chemoreception and the influence of previous experience with prey on the predatory behavior of Iberian wall lizards (Podarcis hispanica). Experiment 1 compared the responses to visual, chemical, and a combination of visual and chemical cues of a familiar prey by 2 groups of lizards that had […]

Flexible search behavior in domestic cats (Felis catus): A case study of predator-prey interaction

Domestic cats (Felis catus) were administered an object permanence task in a novel and a familiar situation to investigate flexibility (i.e., pause behavior and searching by following a path opposite of that taken by the object when it disappeared) in search behavior. Pause and opposite search were assumed to be independent, equipmbable, and randomly exhibited […]

Immobility and supination in garter snakes (Thamnophis elegans) following handling by human predators

A common response of animals to physical restraint is tonic immobility. The authors observed the behavior of garter snakes, Thamnophis elegans, in the field to determine the frequency of immobility as a response to handling. Most snakes fled after release, but the remainder remained immobile, sometimes on their backs (supination), for up to 10 min. […]

Zoo and laboratory experiments on the behavior of snakes- assessments of competence in captive-raised animals

Specific experiments on rattlesnake predatory behavior are described. Specimens of taxa bred in zoos are shown to behave qualitatively like wild-caught congeners, suggesting that the captive-bred animals have the skill necessary to hunt in natural habitats. Frequently, wildcaught conspecifics are unavailable for comparison with captive-raised individuals. Although this comparison is desirable, we must develop research […]