A researcher from the University of Tennessee made a frightful discovery. Snakes hunt in packs and are able to employ well-devised group strategies while stalking their unsuspecting prey. This is the first evidence showing snakes deliberately working together, biologists being convinced, until now, that the reptiles are solitary creatures.
Strength in Numbers
Vladimir Dinets, a zoologist and expert in Crocodilian behavior, found Cuban boas work together when hunting their favorite prey, fruit bats. It seems the reptiles are more intelligent than humans initially gave them credit for, coming up with a cunning – yet highly effective – hunting strategy.
At dusk and dawn – the peak hours of bat activity – the predators positioned themselves at all entrances of a given cave, therefore creating a live fence that encircled their prey. How would snakes trap in flying bats, you ask?
Apart from being capable of advanced hunting tactics, the creepy crawlers are also able to hang themselves upside down the cave’s entrance, snatching terrified bats out of midair. And they do so relentlessly and with maximum efficiency.
According to an Assistant Research Professor at the University of Tennessee’s Department of Psychology, each boa would strategically position itself at the cave’s entrance, the reptiles working in perfect accord, leaving no room for their prey to escape.
Such a coordinated and organized behavior is proof that the bats are highly intelligent, at least as smart as lions or dolphins, or any other animals that have perfected their pack hunting techniques. In a group hunt, each member must take into consideration the needs of the other participants, the activity having a strong social component.
Are snakes adapting to the lack of food, or were they always much more intelligent than humans gave them credit for? Researchers will just have to keep their eyes on the keen reptiles to see if any other species of snakes hunt in packs or if the behavior is specific to the Cuban boa.
Image Source: Wikipedia