Saturday, October 1, 2011

Not so regal after all

Photos by Ned Harris
Click to see tail biting
Ned Harris posted photos of this Common Kingsnake to his flickr site recently and Angie Perryman was curious enough about the tail-biting behavior to ask a snake expert in town what was going on. Here is his reply:
"Kingsnakes rely heavily on chemical queues when it comes to feeding. They don't see very well. I keep one, and come feeding time, it will often bite and constrict itself. All while the prey item is dancing on its head. It has often bit its own tail as part of the process. He has a permanent scar from doing that. One fine day, it will likely eat itself from the tail up, leave a zinger for me to clean up, and I can be rid of the darn thing. They really are STOOPID snakes. The snake pictured is emaciated, and hungry. I expect that it got wind of another prey item, likely a snake. [Anne notes: maybe it was this same snake.] It confused the scent with its own tail, and started chewing on that. I saw all the pictures that Mr. Harris put up. It's hard for me to determine how long he stayed with it, or what the outcome was. It looks like the snake finally figured out that its own tail was not the prey item it was seeking, but again, I wasn't there. [Anne notes: Ned stayed around for about 10 minutes of tail-biting.] That's my $0.02 worth. Feel free to post my comment. I'm pretty sure it's the right explanation for the reason behind it all.  Best, Roger"
Thanks Ned, Angie, and Roger for enlightening us on Kingsnake behavior!

1 comment:

  1. . . . interesting behavior. I didn't realized kingsnakes are so stupid -- life's a real bite!