Evolution of aging: Theoretical and practical implications from rattlesnakes

Abstract 10.1002/(SICI)1098-2361(1996)15:33.3.CO;2-2 Many reptiles live relatively long lives wherein senescence is postponed to an advanced age. Altering nutrition, reproduction, temperature, and other physiological parameters may favorably contribute to increased life spans. But life spans are also evolved characteristics of populations, and the distinctive longevities also result from selective regimes arising within particular environments. Aging is […]

The forked tongue and edge detection in snakes (Crotalus oreganus): An experimental test

Many stimulus-detection systems are lateralized to allow for simultaneous comparison of paired stimuli. It has been hypothesized that the deeply forked tongue of snakes and some derived lizards functions as a chemical edge detector where cues gathered by each tine are kept separate to provide two points of lateral odor assessment by the central nervous […]

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 […]

Effect of education programs on the knowledge and attitudes about snakes in San Isidro de Upala, Costa Rica

We interviewed 30 people in San Isidro de Upala, Costa Rica, to reveal their knowledge and attitudes about snakes. We found that many people hated and feared snakes because they assumed incorrectly that many or all snakes in the area were venomous. We then administered an education program designed to improve people’s knowledge and attitudes […]

Snake Mating Systems, Behavior, and Evolution: The Revisionary Implications of Recent Findings

Sexual selection and mating systems profoundly influence the behavior and psychology of animals. Using their own studies of green anacondas (Eunectes murinus) and reviewing other recent studies, the authors conclude that incomplete data derived from a few well-studied snake species have led to general acceptance of polygyny as the dominant mating system in snakes. New […]

Experimental Validation of Sex Differences in Spatial Behavior Patterns of Free-Ranging Snakes: Implications for Social Interactions

Social interactions often play a significant role in determining patterns of spatial use. Although snakes are generally thought of as asocial, recent spatial dispersion studies suggest that the spatial ecology of snakes may be more strongly influenced by social interactions than previously thought. We investigated the spatial behavior patterns of a western cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus) […]

Of Iguanas and Dinosaurs- Social Behavior and Communication in Neonate Reptiles

Newborn and newly hatched reptiles show diverse types of social behavior. Aggregation behavior in snakes, dominance in turtles, vocalization in crocodilians, and synchronized nest emergence, migration, and foraging behavior in iguanas are documented. Such evidence casts doubt on inferences about a generalized reptilian level of social organization qualitatively inferior to that found in birds and […]

Factors increasing snake detection and perceived threat in captive rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta)

The primary predators of primates are all ambush hunters, and yet felids, raptors, and snakes differ in aspects of their ecology that affect the evasive strategies of their primate prey. Felids and raptors can traverse long distances quickly, thus the urgency of threat they present increases as they come closer in proximity to primates. In […]