Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonation

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Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonation

Post by chrish » July 14th, 2015, 4:18 pm

I was out doing a little frog recording in west Texas last week and came across one of my favorite natricines, the Black-necked Gartersnake.

As I drove up to the snake, it was on the road and it stayed so I got out to get a documentary photo for the HERP database.

I snapped a quick documentation photo -

Image

then knelt down on my hands and knees for a better photo.

As I leaned over it, it did something I've never witnessed before. It raised up the anterior 1/4 of its body straight in the air and flattened out its neck. It made no attempt to strike or hiss or anything. It just sat like that for over 1 minute (I "timed" it with my EXIF data). It tongue flicked a few times as I moved around it taking photos, but it never moved.

(Unfortunately, my camera flash was set up incorrectly and my shots aren't good :( )

Image
Image
Image
Image

Unfortunately, when I realized my flash wasn't set up right, I looked down at my camera for a second to fix it and the snake bolted for the underbrush.

Anyone else seen T. cyrtopsis (or other gartersnakes) do this?

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Re: Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonat

Post by SurfinHerp » July 14th, 2015, 4:34 pm

Very interesting Chris!

Looks a little like a cobra 8-)

I've never seen, nor heard of, gartersnakes acting that way. It's great that you were able to document it. Thanks for sharing the photos!

Jeff

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Re: Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonat

Post by Kelly Mc » July 14th, 2015, 10:03 pm

This is compelling and delightful.

The right guy finding the right snake with the right skill to get it on.


:thumb: To the both of you!

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Re: Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonat

Post by BillMcGighan » July 15th, 2015, 7:12 am

Wow, Chris,
That's a great documentation of an observation.
It does remind you of Rhabdophis.

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Re: Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonat

Post by TeeJay » July 15th, 2015, 7:52 am

A friend of mine just described seeing this exact same behavior with a large Common Garter here in southern Minnesota. I think he suspects I didn't believe him. I'll have to show him these pics.

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Re: Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonat

Post by Robert Hansen » July 16th, 2015, 7:46 am

Great observation...never seen this before in any Thamnophis. Makes you wonder if they're sequestering bufotoxins. This should be published as a natural history note.

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Re: Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonat

Post by Rich in Reptiles » July 16th, 2015, 1:46 pm

Wow, that is a really cool observation! They have very similar pattern to young Rhabophis subminiatus with their black napes and checkered pattern. Even the bright interscalar coloration (which I personally hypothesize is a form of aposematism).

-Bethany

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Re: Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonat

Post by mfb » July 16th, 2015, 5:03 pm

Fascinating!

This post is one of the reasons I frequent FHF.

Always exciting new observations to learn from.

Thanks for sharing!

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Re: Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonat

Post by hellihooks » July 19th, 2015, 3:15 pm

I'm relieved to read that you're not calling this an 'impersonation' Chris. as it's being touted online : Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior – Rhabdophis impersonation

No snake impersonates another snake... they don't know other species exist, or how they behave, or even have the required 'theory of mind' to realize they themselves exist, much less consider what they do... :roll:

very cool observation, though... :thumb: jim

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Re: Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonat

Post by Noah M » July 20th, 2015, 7:41 am

This is cool. I've never seen or heard anything like this before.

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Re: Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonat

Post by Scott Waters » July 20th, 2015, 5:38 pm

Jim, "Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior – Rhabdophis impersonation" is being "touted online" exactly as the author titled the forum post. Have a great day! :)

Scott

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Re: Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonat

Post by hellihooks » July 20th, 2015, 6:04 pm

Scott Waters wrote:Jim, "Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior – Rhabdophis impersonation" is being "touted online" exactly as the author titled the forum post. Have a great day! :)

Scott
Hmmmm. something for both Chris and Herp Nation to consider, perhaps. Inaccurate, misleading and not up to the high standards I've come to expect from either Chris or Herp Nation.

I would like to say that as a 'science officer' (and Nafha liason) for a FB Wilderness Group (the only social media group in the country to have an account at HERP) the 'myth' that one snake imitates another is the most pervasive and resistant to change myth out there... and has admittedly become somewhat of a 'pet peeve'. :?
I spend countless hours explaining that gopher snakes are NOT imitating rattlesnakes, by vibrating their tails... but rather just doing what comes naturally to many species of snake.

I mean no disrespect to either Chris or Herp Nation, and hold both in high regard... but... REALLY??? somebody should have caught this, before it went to print. jim

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Re: Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonat

Post by Noah M » July 20th, 2015, 7:10 pm

We've discussed this, recently, elsewhere. "Impersonation" and "mimic" does not necessarily imply a certain level of cognitive ability as you seem to treat it.

From dictionary.com, mimicry is defined as "the close external resemblance of an organism, the mimic, to some different organism, the model, such that the mimic benefits from the mistaken identity, as seeming to be unpalatable or harmful."

Or, as I prefer it, from merriam-webster, "a superficial resemblance of one organism to another or to natural objects among which it lives that secures it a selective advantage (as protection from predation)"

Merriam-webster also says impersonation is, "to assume or act the character of".

In none of these cases is there the implication that the mimicking or impersonating is done consciously.

Again though, to stay on topic, cool behavioral observation! :thumb:

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Re: Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonat

Post by Scott Waters » July 20th, 2015, 7:54 pm

.. but... REALLY??? somebody should have caught this, before it went to print. jim
LOL! Oh Jim. This was not printed by Herp Nation.

Jim, if you are going to push your credentials then consider having your actual name as your username. It would look more professional.

Just trying to help! :)

Scott

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Re: Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonat

Post by hellihooks » July 20th, 2015, 8:01 pm

captainjack0000 wrote:We've discussed this, recently, elsewhere. "Impersonation" and "mimic" does not necessarily imply a certain level of cognitive ability as you seem to treat it.

From dictionary.com, mimicry is defined as "the close external resemblance of an organism, the mimic, to some different organism, the model, such that the mimic benefits from the mistaken identity, as seeming to be unpalatable or harmful."

Or, as I prefer it, from merriam-webster, "a superficial resemblance of one organism to another or to natural objects among which it lives that secures it a selective advantage (as protection from predation)"
I probably woun't have had a problem with 'mimic' as it can be intentional or unintentional
captainjack0000 wrote: Merriam-webster also says impersonation is, "to assume or act the character of".

In none of these cases is there the implication that the mimicking or impersonating is done consciously.
I disagree... 'to assume' or 'act the character of' implies a knowledge of what the copied 'character' is like, which requires a 'theory of mind' that snakes do not possess. look at the root of the word... imPERSONate... could there BE a more apt (and ironic) example of Anthropomorphism. :lol:
And of course... one must consider your audiance... MOST of them probably are not 'word-wise' enough to assume the less obvious definition of 'impersonate' and go with the more ordinary definition of one person impersonating another, with the accompanying underlying warrant that snakes can do this, as well.

but... whatever. change it.. let it stand... I'm pretty much over it. but consider... If I notice this 'discrepancy'... how many others, brighter than me, noticed it as well. guess i'm the only one dumb enough to actually mention it... :lol: :lol: :lol:

enemys say bad things behind your back, and good things to your face... while friends say good things behind your back... and the bad things to your face. :beer:

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Re: Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonat

Post by hellihooks » July 20th, 2015, 8:27 pm

Scott Waters wrote:
.. but... REALLY??? somebody should have caught this, before it went to print. jim
LOL! Oh Jim. This was not printed by Herp Nation.

Jim, if you are going to push your credentials then consider having your actual name as your username. It would look more professional.

Just trying to help! :)

Scott
I'm the only 'Hellihooks' in the World... they can google me... lol I don't know about Herp Nation printing this article... but i first read it at Herp Nation Media... http://www.herpnation.com/

but... like I say... it's your empire... do what you want... :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Re: Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonat

Post by chrish » July 20th, 2015, 9:23 pm

Jim,

Are you serious????

Do you think for one moment I considered the idea that this particular snake was mimicking or modeling its behavior based on its intuitive understanding of the behavior of a distantly related snake from the opposite side of the planet? :shock: :lol:

The whole use of the word "impersonation" was intended to be tongue-in-cheek. Relax. :beer:

Chris

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Re: Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonat

Post by Kelly Mc » July 21st, 2015, 5:02 am

For me, the word Impersonation was a perfect term, as a playfully succinct way of not titling it Mimicry and trusting the intelligence of the reader.

There is no need for stoic, overly cautious terminology when something is taken as a given.

I can't tell you how often I have shown this pic to friends and acquaintances.

Its Great!

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Re: Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonat

Post by Kelly Mc » July 21st, 2015, 5:39 am

Mimicry aside, Jim you keep referring to Theory of Mind and applying it in contexts with the effect of appearing unwittingly anthropocentric, and its ironic.

When you state (repeatedly) that a snake doesn't know it exists you make an empirical claim that is unscientifically attached to "knowing" as humans "know" things.

Snakes receive information and experience stimuli. Whether they have an awareness of being alive, and existing is an unmeasured mystery. But it would be Their Form of awareness. To put it into a criteria that was a part of your studies or belief system seems like your stuck in those .

But I'm not a college graduate or scholar or science officer, just somebody who ponders more than they conclude.

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Re: Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonat

Post by Noah M » July 21st, 2015, 5:48 am

And of course... one must consider your audiance... MOST of them probably are not 'word-wise' enough to assume the less obvious definition of 'impersonate' and go with the more ordinary definition of one person impersonating another, with the accompanying underlying warrant that snakes can do this, as well.
The audience is the users and readers of this forum. I assume most people reading this forum are "'word-wise' enough", and evidently so did chrish, and Scott, though his audience were readers of HerpNation.

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Re: Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonat

Post by BillMcGighan » July 21st, 2015, 6:57 am

Image

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Re: Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonat

Post by Coluber Constrictor » July 21st, 2015, 8:58 am

That is pretty cool. I have not seen a garter snake do this, but I have seen a Nerodia floridana do something similar.

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Re: Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonat

Post by hellihooks » July 21st, 2015, 12:50 pm

Kelly Mc wrote:Mimicry aside, Jim you keep referring to Theory of Mind and applying it in contexts with the effect of appearing unwittingly anthropocentric, and its ironic.

When you state (repeatedly) that a snake doesn't know it exists you make an empirical claim that is unscientifically attached to "knowing" as humans "know" things.

Snakes receive information and experience stimuli. Whether they have an awareness of being alive, and existing is an unmeasured mystery. But it would be Their Form of awareness. To put it into a criteria that was a part of your studies or belief system seems like your stuck in those .

But I'm not a college graduate or scholar or science officer, just somebody who ponders more than they conclude.
well...get degrees in those subjects, and we'll talk... don't really have time for 'musings'.

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Re: Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonat

Post by hellihooks » July 21st, 2015, 1:06 pm

chrish wrote:Jim,

Are you serious????

Do you think for one moment I considered the idea that this particular snake was mimicking or modeling its behavior based on its intuitive understanding of the behavior of a distantly related snake from the opposite side of the planet? :shock: :lol:

The whole use of the word "impersonation" was intended to be tongue-in-cheek. Relax. :beer:

Chris
Well... you know your intended audience better than I... and perhaps the audiance IS all 'experianced herpers' who would 'get the joke' I however, reccommend Herp Nation Mag & Media to MANY people new to herping and promote it to the general public as well, as the most accurate up-to-date resource out there. Shame I'll either have to retract, or qualify that reccommendation.

Your Title promotes a myth. And is not funny enough to OBVIOUSLY be a joke... and may give thousands of people 'bad info'. I think I've said all I need to say... have a good one. :beer:

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Re: Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonat

Post by Noah M » July 21st, 2015, 1:19 pm

hellihooks wrote:
well...get degrees in those subjects, and we'll talk... don't really have time for 'musings'.
Is this really necessary?

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Re: Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonat

Post by Kelly Mc » July 21st, 2015, 1:25 pm

hellihooks wrote:
Kelly Mc wrote:Mimicry aside, Jim you keep referring to Theory of Mind and applying it in contexts with the effect of appearing unwittingly anthropocentric, and its ironic.

When you state (repeatedly) that a snake doesn't know it exists you make an empirical claim that is unscientifically attached to "knowing" as humans "know" things.

Snakes receive information and experience stimuli. Whether they have an awareness of being alive, and existing is an unmeasured mystery. But it would be Their Form of awareness. To put it into a criteria that was a part of your studies or belief system seems like your stuck in those .

But I'm not a college graduate or scholar or science officer, just somebody who ponders more than they conclude.
well...get degrees in those subjects, and we'll talk... don't really have time for 'musings'.


Well if you ever do find the time to deign in discourse about subjects various animalia, with such a lowly self educated savage such as myself - I will cheerfully oblige.

It could be kind of like that scene in White Men Cant Jump. You can be the infinitely cool Wesley character and I will be dorky Woody.

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Re: Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonat

Post by hellihooks » July 21st, 2015, 1:33 pm

Kelly Mc wrote:
hellihooks wrote:
Kelly Mc wrote:Mimicry aside, Jim you keep referring to Theory of Mind and applying it in contexts with the effect of appearing unwittingly anthropocentric, and its ironic.

When you state (repeatedly) that a snake doesn't know it exists you make an empirical claim that is unscientifically attached to "knowing" as humans "know" things.

Snakes receive information and experience stimuli. Whether they have an awareness of being alive, and existing is an unmeasured mystery. But it would be Their Form of awareness. To put it into a criteria that was a part of your studies or belief system seems like your stuck in those .

But I'm not a college graduate or scholar or science officer, just somebody who ponders more than they conclude.
well...get degrees in those subjects, and we'll talk... don't really have time for 'musings'.


Well if you ever do find the time to deign in discourse about subjects various animalia, with such a lowly self educated savage such as myself - I will cheerfully oblige.

It could be kind of like that scene in White Men Cant Jump. You can be the infinitely cool Wesley character and I will be dorky Woody.
In case you don't remember, you insulted and offended me, and I 'unfriended' you. clear enough?

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Re: Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonat

Post by Kelly Mc » July 21st, 2015, 2:58 pm

You must not have seen the movie.

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Re: Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonat

Post by The Real Snake Man » July 21st, 2015, 10:45 pm

Well all of this escalated quickly! Darn cool snake behavior, but I'd say it's definitely mimicking the dueling stance of a rattlesnake and the neck-spreading of a hognose all in one display, as these snakes are all in its range. I mean really, didn't anyone stop to think that a newbie probably wouldn't even know what a Rhabdophis is? Then, being an intelligent human being (we'll give these confused newbies the benefit of the doubt here), the newbie "googles" Rhabdophis, discovers this is a genus of Asian snakes, maybe already knows what a garter is or looks that up too, and finds that these snakes are from different places. They then put two and two together, and realize that this behavior must simply be more typical of Rhabdophis, and hence the title.

-Gene

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Re: Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonat

Post by Kelly Mc » July 22nd, 2015, 1:05 pm

hellihooks wrote:
well...get degrees in those subjects, and we'll talk... don't really have time for 'musings'.

It is understood Jim.

And because you are so lofty and pre-occupied with less menial things.. that's probably why it never occurred to you to pay back the 20 bucks I sent you to help you out, professor. It had a phrynosoma head drawn on the envelope, remember?

How shamelessly petty of me to mention - but you know us uneducated types. Hey you know what - it IS petty - Never Mind.


I'll just consider it a donation to "The Higher Mind of Man"... :crazyeyes: :sleep:

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Re: Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonat

Post by hellihooks » July 22nd, 2015, 3:11 pm

Kelly Mc wrote:
hellihooks wrote:
well...get degrees in those subjects, and we'll talk... don't really have time for 'musings'.

It is understood Jim.

And because you are so lofty and pre-occupied with less menial things.. that's probably why it never occurred to you to pay back the 20 bucks I sent you to help you out, professor. It had a phrynosoma head drawn on the envelope, remember?

How shamelessly petty of me to mention - but you know us uneducated types. Hey you know what - it IS petty - Never Mind.

I'm not going to further derail Chris's cool post, by responding (take it to pm, if you think it worth the effort) And I've said all I have to say, regarding 'word choice'.


I'll just consider it a donation to "The Higher Mind of Man"... :crazyeyes: :sleep:
I'm not going to further derail Chris's cool post, by responding (take it to pm, if you think it worth the effort) And I've said all I have to say, regarding 'word choice'.

Proceeding on the premise that no snake copies the behavior of another, and this is a newly observed behavior in gartersnakes... could it possibly have anything to do with some species of 'den defense' (gartersnakes are NOT my forte) The most unique behaviors I've ever witnessed in crotes has been 'den defense' (several instances, several species). A BIG (4 ft) speckled rattlesnake once reared up like a Cobra, and advanced on me. I have other examples of unique behavior documented, as well.

Like with most vertabrates, breeding brings into play a unique transitory hormonal change(s), like Oxytocin production, which might produce some unique transistory behaviors. :?: :?: :?: If I had to take a guess at explaining this behavior... that would be it. :thumb:

For the record... when my ship comes in (and it's on the horizon) I have every intention of repaying every red cent (with interest), folks gifted me, should they want it back. As is my wont, I have accurate records of each and every red cent. :|

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Re: Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonat

Post by BethH » July 22nd, 2015, 3:45 pm

I was looking at the Virginia Herpitological Society pages for another reason, and found this...

"Thamnophis sirtalis will often flatten its head and anterior body and strike if molested. Juveniles especially will perform this behavior and will strike so forcefully that they may completely leave the ground."

I think the first part describes the behavior the OP photographed. That page, which I'll give you the link to in a moment, cited

10760 - Mitchell, J. C., 1994, The Reptiles of Virginia, 352 pgs., Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC

The page I got it from was

http://www.virginiaherpetologicalsociet ... rsnake.php

Now it could have been a different species of snake, or I might be misunderstanding the description, or what they cited could have been a pile of hooey. I dunno. I'm a librarian. I'm not a scientist. Heck, I never even took biology past a half year in 8th grade... but I'm still curious 'bout stuff.

Beth

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Re: Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonat

Post by The Real Snake Man » July 22nd, 2015, 5:52 pm

BethH wrote:I was looking at the Virginia Herpitological Society pages for another reason, and found this...

"Thamnophis sirtalis will often flatten its head and anterior body and strike if molested. Juveniles especially will perform this behavior and will strike so forcefully that they may completely leave the ground."

I think the first part describes the behavior the OP photographed. That page, which I'll give you the link to in a moment, cited

10760 - Mitchell, J. C., 1994, The Reptiles of Virginia, 352 pgs., Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC

The page I got it from was

http://www.virginiaherpetologicalsociet ... rsnake.php

Now it could have been a different species of snake, or I might be misunderstanding the description, or what they cited could have been a pile of hooey. I dunno. I'm a librarian. I'm not a scientist. Heck, I never even took biology past a half year in 8th grade... but I'm still curious 'bout stuff.

Beth
It is a different species, but really an angry eastern garter flattening it's head and some of its neck isn't too hard to believe. However, the specimen in question is not flattening its head at all really, and is instead flattening and raising a good portion of its neck in a vertical fashion. I don't know. Did your animal strike or otherwise seem angered, Chris?

-Gene

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Re: Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonat

Post by Noah M » July 22nd, 2015, 5:59 pm

Naja x Thamnophis hybrid is my guess. But then again I'm watching the premier of Sharknado 3, so my head is in some other space :beer:

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Re: Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonat

Post by Kelly Mc » July 22nd, 2015, 7:37 pm

I believe all snakes share similiar portfolio of [esp] defensive behaviors. All snakes have a linear, limbless form and other signature physical organization.

Rearing, lunging, tail rattling, gaping, neck flattening, puffing up, I think almost all species have the capacity or intrinsic tendency to do these things and these native actions in some species are more noticeable - even becoming iconic when the behavior is more common to a kind of snake or the action has accentuating feature like hoods and stronger fore body muscles, rattles, contrasting mouth & interstitial skin color.

A small snake can bust out with some bigger snake moves and vice versa but it just isn't observed as often, or even rarely and under specific circumstance.

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Re: Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonat

Post by FunkyRes » July 22nd, 2015, 8:08 pm

I agree with Kelly MC

With respect to tail rattling, I think the evolutionary reasoning behind it has to do with the fact that a lot of predators have vision that focuses on movement. When a predator attacks the tail, the snake can then fight back with the head.

Flattening the neck, Gartersnakes usually flee into the bushes in my experience - but if there was not cover for it to flee to, flattening the neck may make it appear bigger causing predators to back off. Or it may even make it easier for the snake to detect things like wind direction, who knows.

Very interesting observation regardless of the reason for the behavior. I can't recall ever seeing a gartersnake do that, but I have seen them flatten their bodies against the ground which may make it harder for a predator to grasp them (I have heard rattlesnakes also flatten body against the ground sometimes)

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Re: Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonat

Post by BethH » July 23rd, 2015, 6:19 am

It is a different species, but really an angry eastern garter flattening it's head and some of its neck isn't too hard to believe. However, the specimen in question is not flattening its head at all really, and is instead flattening and raising a good portion of its neck in a vertical fashion. I don't know. Did your animal strike or otherwise seem angered, Chris?

-Gene
Thanks for clarifying. Beth

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonat

Post by Kelly Mc » July 23rd, 2015, 7:44 am

Maybe he forgot. lol but really perhaps it doesn't matter. Behavior can be fluid and physical expressions of it vary because of so many things, intensity of fright, space and surroundings, light, body temperature. The energy expenditure and effort of muscle groups to achieve posture.

Spontaneity happens and in epic perspective of evolutionary motion aren't all behaviors and adaptations in an experimental stage?

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Noah M
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Re: Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonat

Post by Noah M » July 23rd, 2015, 9:19 am

Lots of snakes shake their tails and puff up, but others, like mud snakes and ringers, and even ball pythons, seem to have a different defensive approach. How weird would it be to see a ringneck lift up and flatten out its head and neck like a cobra? There are multiple evolutionary pathways, and some snakes have slithered down some and ignored others.
Spontaneity happens and in epic perspective of evolutionary motion aren't all behaviors and adaptations in an experimental stage
I could see this. Evidently what this garter did worked, as the "predator" (chrish) was not able to catch is prey!

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Re: Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonat

Post by gabrielgartner » July 24th, 2015, 8:17 am

Kelly Mc wrote:I believe all snakes share similiar portfolio of [esp] defensive behaviors. All snakes have a linear, limbless form and other signature physical organization.

Rearing, lunging, tail rattling, gaping, neck flattening, puffing up, I think almost all species have the capacity or intrinsic tendency to do these things and these native actions in some species are more noticeable - even becoming iconic when the behavior is more common to a kind of snake or the action has accentuating feature like hoods and stronger fore body muscles, rattles, contrasting mouth & interstitial skin color.

A small snake can bust out with some bigger snake moves and vice versa but it just isn't observed as often, or even rarely and under specific circumstance.


Kelly et al.. Copy this link into google for a PDF on convergence in threat displays in not only snakes, but several other limbless elongate organisms...some of which aren't even vertebrates. You're absolutely correct, the simplified beauplan of snakes makes convergent threat displays highly effective against, large, intelligent predators, like mammals...especially when you consider that some snakes are highly toxic, and others are not...better to not take any chances (if say, you're a dog)...

https://repository.si.edu/bitstream/han ... 09_new.pdf

Cheers,
Gabriel

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Re: Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonat

Post by Desert scorps » July 24th, 2015, 10:20 am

I have had a wandering garter do this to me. It was actually my own pet. I took him outside to wander around a bit and he raised up and flattened his neck exactly like this one. No one beleived me that he/she did it. Now I know others do this too!

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Gartersnake (cyrtopsis) behavior - Rhabdophis impersonat

Post by Kelly Mc » July 24th, 2015, 12:16 pm

Thanks Gabriel - Will do!

Kel

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