Shovel-nosed snake hunting using sand vibrations??

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PNWHerper
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Shovel-nosed snake hunting using sand vibrations??

Post by PNWHerper » July 13th, 2014, 1:16 pm

Does anyone know if any studies have been done on Chionactis (shovel-nosed snakes) and how they hunt using vibrations? I have seen this footage a bunch of times, and was wondering if there was any scientific work out there to support it:

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/JpVRDD8lLL0[/youtube]

Its a cool behavior, and makes sense too. Also, I wonder if Chilomeniscus (Sandsnakes) use this method as well?

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TravisK
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Re: Shovel-nosed snake hunting using sand vibrations??

Post by TravisK » July 14th, 2014, 9:27 am

Fil,

the link wasn't working for me.


*****Edit****
Ok, got it now Fil. Thanks that is very interesting. As I have never seen that species I was unaware how they hunted.

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PNWHerper
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Re: Shovel-nosed snake hunting using sand vibrations??

Post by PNWHerper » July 14th, 2014, 2:09 pm

Try this shortened version:



Here is the original:



I don't understand why the video is not working right...hmmm.

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PNWHerper
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Re: Shovel-nosed snake hunting using sand vibrations??

Post by PNWHerper » July 15th, 2014, 9:02 pm

I gotta admit, sometimes using the main forum for serious queries is depressing...

I can watch the # of views grow, but people don't bother responding because I didn't post 50 photos in a trip report or for whatever other reason... :roll:

Thanks Travis for letting me know about the link.

Come on people, no body here has any info on shovel-nosed hunting strategies? Nothin'? :crazyeyes:

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SurfinHerp
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Re: Shovel-nosed snake hunting using sand vibrations??

Post by SurfinHerp » July 15th, 2014, 11:57 pm

Hi Fil,

I don't have any deep insights into shovel-nosed snake feeding habits. However, I frequently watch my captive specimens poke around the enclosure and stick their heads into all the small cracks, crevices, and holes where crickets try to hide from them. While road-cruising, I've noticed that shovel-nosed snakes sometimes appear to be feeding on the pavement, not merely crossing it. I wonder if it's easier for them to capture small insects such as moths on pavement compared to on sand or gravel? Or perhaps they just like the extra warmth of the pavement. Once I found a shovel-nosed up on a rock outcropping where it appeared to be searching for invertebrates or perhaps small lizards. I've never gone out to a wind-blown sand area and found one active at night, but I'd be glad to give it a try with you next time you're in SD!

Jeff

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Bryan Hamilton
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Re: Shovel-nosed snake hunting using sand vibrations??

Post by Bryan Hamilton » July 16th, 2014, 8:58 am

I don't know much about feeding in Chionactis. There doesn't seem to be much published on their natural history in general.... Have your done your research? Hit the libraries and literature hard?
PNWHerper wrote: I gotta admit, sometimes using the main forum for serious queries is depressing...

I can watch the # of views grow, but people don't bother responding because I didn't post 50 photos in a trip report or for whatever other reason...
Well when you post a link that doesn't work and then don't fix it, are you really surprised?

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PNWHerper
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Re: Shovel-nosed snake hunting using sand vibrations??

Post by PNWHerper » July 17th, 2014, 7:55 pm

Jeff,

Thanks for commenting, buddy.
I don't have any deep insights into shovel-nosed snake feeding habits. However, I frequently watch my captive specimens poke around the enclosure and stick their heads into all the small cracks, crevices, and holes where crickets try to hide from them. While road-cruising, I've noticed that shovel-nosed snakes sometimes appear to be feeding on the pavement, not merely crossing it. I wonder if it's easier for them to capture small insects such as moths on pavement compared to on sand or gravel? Or perhaps they just like the extra warmth of the pavement. Once I found a shovel-nosed up on a rock outcropping where it appeared to be searching for invertebrates or perhaps small lizards. I've never gone out to a wind-blown sand area and found one active at night, but I'd be glad to give it a try with you next time you're in SD!
Yeah, my experience with them in open sand is not vast by any means. I have studied their trails a fair bit, but observing them foraging at night directly would be more insightful in this regard. I would love to get a chance to do that with you. I am planning to do some free wildlife tracking training in the field for folks on the forums here sometime this coming summer. Probably hit Mojave NP, Joshua Tree NP, and Anza B. Will keep you in the loop.

I am hesitant to take the video at face value, as it is from mainstream media. But, then again BBC does a good job of doing their homework.

Bryan,
I don't know much about feeding in Chionactis. There doesn't seem to be much published on their natural history in general.... Have your done your research? Hit the libraries and literature hard?
I have, but not exhaustively. I am not a noob to seeking info via lit searches, libraries, etc., but thought perhaps someone here might know something here.

It is a fascinating behavior and I thought being that there are videos (or at least one that I found) of it, perhaps it was something familiar to serious herp researchers. My issue is I am incredibly pressed for time, so I was hoping someone could give me a lead. If you want to tell me I should stop asking and go keep doing my own leg work, I can take that. But, I have two reasons for asking here... First, I think of this as a community of herpers that support each others work (take that as you will). Second, I am on the most insane writing schedule and have been for months. I thought this would be a cool behavior to include in the Herp Tracking book, but am not sure its a good idea to include it if I can't verify it.
Well when you post a link that doesn't work and then don't fix it, are you really surprised?
I can hear a tone of judgement here, as if I was just being a lazy dumbass. Again, I am very pressed for time and could not figure out why the links did not work in the short window I had. I actually tried manipulating the URL address for the link various times before posting and keep not having success.

The best I can do right now is just suggest this:

Go to youtube, and punch in:

" Desert insects, scorpions and snakes use special skills to survive - BBC wildlife "

Then you can watch it. Let me know your thoughts.

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Re: Shovel-nosed snake hunting using sand vibrations??

Post by regalringneck » July 18th, 2014, 4:56 am

... hello PNW, & since im incredibly pressed for time (haha; we all get 24 hrs a day; even the 1%'rz) i'll be brief.
Your links didnt work for me either, but the you tube search did; a very cool clip.
So I suggest you find a paper by J. Glass et al.; an old colleague of mine, he published (i think) the 1st paper on shovelsnout/scorpion interactions, be sure to check his biblio therein too.
I have had captive SN rise to the surface after crickets were introduced, but whether that was their little feet or cage disturbance ... quien sabe? Another unexpected behavior in captive SN is that after awhile, they often quit burying themselves. ??
As far as your statement; I thought this would be a cool behavior to include in the Herp Tracking book, but am not sure its a good idea to include it if I can't verify it. i suggest you're on the "right track" there; allow yourself to slow down a bit & get it right. Good luck w/ your project, & have a bowl of chowder down at Pykes for the rest of us; not lucky enough to call Seattle home. / rxr

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PNWHerper
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Re: Shovel-nosed snake hunting using sand vibrations??

Post by PNWHerper » July 18th, 2014, 8:24 am

Thank you, Regalringneck. That is exactly the kind of lead I was looking for.

3 years of work are coming to a head now, and I am excited to see it completed. Thanks for the encouragement, I will have some chowder in your honor when I have completed this project. ;)

I wonder if burrowing behavior in this species is largely defensive? In studying their trails, they appear to be largely surface active, unlike the Variable sandsnake in AZ that travels sub-surface for greater distances more frequently. Could just by my observational bias of course...

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Re: Shovel-nosed snake hunting using sand vibrations??

Post by jamezevanz » July 18th, 2014, 9:33 am

I don't have anything useful to add about shovelnosed snakes. I found many while in San Diego, always crossing pavement, usually moving very quickly. I also kept one for a month or so. I only saw it eat once and the rest of the time the crickets just disappeared. Something I did find interesting about the video though was the implication that the scorpion was hunting the feigning death beetle.

I keep a Desert Hairy Scorpion and came across a YouTube video about a year ago which suggested feigning death beetles make good tankmates for desert scorpions and will act as a "cleanup crew" in the enclosure. I have since acquired four of them (John, Paul, George, and Ringo in case you're wondering about names for captive beetles...) and it is absolutely true.

Hadrurus will not attack feigning death beetles and in fact they seem to comfortably share both burrow and basking areas with no signs of stress or aggression. Indeed the beetles do a fine job of keeping the small, naturalistic set-up clean.

It's interesting that this post came up just as I was wondering if the vibrations of the beetles (air or ground) are what discourage the scorpion from immediately charging and devouring them as it would a cricket or cockroach. Like PNW Herper, I would love to see more research on this interaction than what's on YouTube.

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