Coordinated hunting in Cuban Boas?

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tomharten
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Coordinated hunting in Cuban Boas?

Post by tomharten » May 26th, 2017, 3:44 am

Saw this article this morning on the CNN website. Haven't had a chance to delve further into other sources of information.
It's interesting, if you can mentally filter out the usual crap that peppers any mainstream news story regarding snakes.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/26/americas/ ... index.html

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chris_mcmartin
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Re: Coordinated hunting in Cuban Boas?

Post by chris_mcmartin » May 27th, 2017, 7:37 am

It was picked up by several outlets, including LiveScience (I think)...but not having seen the paper itself and the implications the authors may make, it seems a little misleading. The news articles claim the snakes hunt in "packs," which to me connotes a social animal (e.g. wolves) hunting together and sharing a kill. However, as far as the remainder of the news article, the snakes seem to be just hanging out where the bats are, but not invading each others' space, and the higher density of snakes dangling in the cave in a concentrated spot means a higher number of bats caught.

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Coordinated hunting in Cuban Boas?

Post by Kelly Mc » May 28th, 2017, 1:04 am

Yeah Chris, I'm with you about the language - a group of predating snakes automatically being labled as a coordinating Pack.

Couple that with the imagery that seems to accompany human visual perspectives - the hanging of a number of snakes being somehow an intense sight, but, is it really that intense? Like what would or could comprise an alternative physical pose for a muscular boid of nice lean athleticism for food items regularly hurtling by?

Ive often pondered what a motherload bat caves would be for snakes and how readily they would attract them. Dense, odiferous.

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BillMcGighan
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Re: Coordinated hunting in Cuban Boas?

Post by BillMcGighan » May 29th, 2017, 6:14 am

Here's Vlad's paper:
http://animalbehaviorandcognition.org/u ... _final.pdf


In his discussion section he says:
"The present study suggests that boas take the positions of other individuals into account when
choosing the hunting location. They position themselves in a way that allows them to form a barrier
across a cave passage. This significantly improves the effectiveness of the hunt, apparently because they
can most effectively block the prey’s flight path and easily intercept passing bats."


I have a hard time reading in any conscious decision making by these snakes to "work together" or "pack" behavior, since they don't share the kill. I would lean towards that several animals found a good hunting ground, that's best at a certain time, and do have some natural selection predisposition for giving space to other hunters.

You see this spacial hunting defference in many vertibrates such as Kodiak Bears fishing, etc.

Annecdotal:
I mounted a 16 ft 2X10 on my back deck. We put bird seed the entire length of the board 2 or 3 times a day. The reason I chose this over traditional bird feeders is so multiple birds can feed simultaneously, in plain view, and I don't have to defend the seed from squirrels and chipmunks; everyone gets to eat. (Even an occasional hawk! LOL) Often "squirrel gangs" visit and when, for example, 4 squirrels are eating simultaneously, you can almost measure the space between them as equidistant. There can never be 5 on the board!


On a separate but similar topic (even referred to in the paper) is the incredible Galapagos footage in the Planet earth II series showing the gauntlet run by hatchling iguanas running for the safety of the ocean. I highly recommend anyone interested in animal behavior watch this episode.

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Coordinated hunting in Cuban Boas?

Post by Kelly Mc » May 30th, 2017, 10:21 pm

Bill I saw that and it was spectacular.

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