This shy little snake can… cartwheel?


From flying by means of the air to turning their our bodies right into a lasso and climbing clean surfaces, we thought we’d seen snakes do all of it. Now, researchers have found a species that may really cartwheel.

Present in some areas of Southeast Asia, together with southern Thailand, peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra, Borneo and the Philippines, the dwarf reed snake – Pseudorabdion longiceps – is small and nocturnal, and hides in leaf litter or beneath rocks or logs throughout the day, researchers be aware. Even so, its small measurement makes it susceptible to birds and different snakes, such because the striped coral snake.

Images show the sequence of Pseudorabdion longiceps' cartwheeling behavior.

Small snakes usually have a formidable arsenal to make use of of their protection towards potential predators, together with camouflage, coloration, odors, enjoying lifeless, intimidation, and simply … fleeing.

There had been anecdotal studies that the dwarf reed snake might cartwheel as technique of escape, however researchers have for the primary time documented the weird protection mechanism, in a paper revealed Wednesday within the Biotropica journal.

Whereas they have been conducting herpetological surveys for different species, researchers got here throughout a startled grownup dwarf reed snake that started “throwing the coils of its physique right into a loop and commenced rolling to attempt to escape,” managing to maneuver round 1.5 meters (round 5 toes) down the highway in lower than 5 seconds.

“As cartwheeling seems to be very metabolically taxing, the snakes can’t maintain it for lengthy durations of time, and it often lasts only some seconds,” corresponding creator Evan Seng Huat Quah, of Universiti Malaysia Sabah, advised CNN in an e-mail.

“By cartwheeling down an incline, the snake was in a position to acquire velocity and quickly cowl extra floor. The snake was captured and positioned on a flat space alongside the facet of the highway the place it repeated the cartwheeling conduct a number of instances,” researchers wrote within the paper.

Quah, who had seen the “shocking” conduct in a dwarf reed snake earlier than, was thrilled that his staff had recording gear readily available.

They noticed that the snake “performs energetic cartwheeling by repeatedly launching the coils of its physique into the air and rolling down inclines,” in response to a information launch. This conduct hasn’t been formally noticed in some other species of snake or reptile, the staff added, although rolling as an escape technique has been recorded in some invertebrates, like moth caterpillars and desert spiders.

However don’t fear – within the unlikely occasion that you simply encounter them, the dwarf reed snakes gained’t be cartwheeling at you for no purpose.

The snakes often make use of the curious technique of locomotion after they really feel threatened and need to evade seize. Researchers additionally speculate that they might do it to startle and confuse predators, together with different snakes.

“This sudden motion not solely startles and confuses visually oriented predators, cartwheeling would additionally go away a patchy scent path that might throw predators off their scent, giving the snake extra time to flee,” Quah advised CNN.

Quah stated his staff thinks the conduct could transcend the dwarf reed snake and be present in different species, “particularly reed snakes of the household Calamariinae. There are anecdotal studies of different species performing this conduct together with one other member of the identical genus, Pseudorabdion albonuchalis,” also referred to as the white-collared reed snake.

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Halo, Saya adalah penulis artikel dengan judul This shy little snake can… cartwheel? yang dipublish pada April 9, 2023 di website Enchantress Magazine

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