Content uploaded by Jesus Rivas
All content in this area was uploaded by Jesus Rivas on Nov 24, 2020
Content may be subject to copyright.
supported only by its tail. The mid-section was visibly swollen
with prey, but this condition did not appear to hinder mobility.
snake slowly elevated its body above the overhang. Once
top, it crawled higher on the cliff to disappear under a large sotol
plant (Dasylirion texanum).
While the snake was present, the swallows maintained an er-
ratic flight pattern in front
the cliff, giving alarm calls. They did
attack the snake. Only when the snake disappeared
from view did their calls stop.
similar predatory behavior has been recorded in a
bairdi collected in Brewster County, Texas (Olson
Sci. 19:99-106). Approximately 33
Alpine, Texas, a male
the species, ca. 136
long, was ob-
served resting inside two or three cliff swallow nests it had appar-
ently broken open. While this Brewstser County snake was not
observed hunting and preying on the swallows, its stomach con-
tents were examined after it was collected and found to comprise
five adult cliff swallows.
Returning to this Frio River location on the same date in 2001,
I found no active nests and only two or three empty nests from the
previous year. However, ca. 100 m downstream, swallows had
established a new nesting site that contained many nests. This
downstream location had been uninhabited the year prior during
the time the above incident was witnessed.
The Real County snake described here was not collected, so
measurement data are unavailable. However, based on measure-
the cliff obtained with an optical laser range calculator,
the snake was estimated at well over 132 cm.
bairdi is said to be chiefly "day-active" (Werler and
Dixon, op. cit), the incident cited above is unique in my experi-
ence for taking place during the middle
a bright, sunny day.
the perhaps two-dozen
bairdi I have observed in the last four
years, all were active after dark, or
San Angelo Nature
Center, 7409 Knickerbocker Road, San Angelo, Texas 76904, USA;
VUS (Jamaican Boa).
HAVIOR. The endemic Jamaican
(Epicrates subflavus), lo-
cally known as "Yellowsnakes," are known from three cave sys-
tems: Windsor (Trelawney), Green Grotto (St. Ann), and St. Clair
(St. Catherine) (Prior and Gibson. 1997. Herpetol. Rev.
73). Bat predation has only been observed at Windsor Great Cave
(Koenig and Schwartz 2003. Herpetol. Rev. 34:374-375; Vareschi
and Janetzky 1998. Jamaica Nat. 5:34-35). Here we report field
subflavus roosting and foraging on bats in two
additional cave systems in Jamaica.
surveyed Ratbat Hole (Botany Bay, St. Thomas) on 16 De-
March 2002. This cave, known among local
guano collectors, is about 4 km E
the satellite dish
the main road from Kingston to Morant Bay,
and can be reached after a 20-min steep hike north from Botany
Bay. The main entrance is 5 m wide and about as tall, leading to a
m vertical passage. This cave is surrounded by karst, inter-
spersed with low secondary dry scrub, and contains at least four
bat species that have sharp seasonal variations in population den-
sity (Davalos and Eriksson 2003. Caribb.
Sci. 39:140-144). On
first visit we found an adult
the cave entrance,
with a bat in its digestive tract. During our second visit
subflavus foraging for bats as they emerged and thereafter,
from 1830 h to 2100 h. The
made numerous unsuccessful
attempts to capture bats identical to those described by Prior and
Gibson (op. cit.).
visited Monarva Cave (Revival, Westmoreland)
Monarva is a locally well-known
dry passage cave in the Negril Hills and is known to harbor popu-
at least seven bat species (Davalos and Erickson, op.
cit.). Monarva is surrounded by the hamlet
fields, and secondary vegetation.
our first visit
subflavus on the cave wall, 20 m along the steep passage
that funnels thousands
bats from the inner chambers to the two-
meter wide cave entrance. This animal remained in the same place
throughout our visit, from 1900-1945
second visit, ca.
2000 h, we found a juvenile
subflavus 3 m into the cave and
moving out toward the vegetation at the entrance.
These observations confirm the presence
this threatened spe-
cies (Hilton-Taylor 2000. IUCN Red List
pp.) in the parishes
St. Thomas, where previous reports claimed they were abundant
but remained unvouchered (Gibson 1996. Dodo, J. Wildl. Preserv.
Trusts 32: 143-155). We also add two new localities to the handful
subflavus in Jamaican cave systems and confirm
bat predation at Ratbat Hole. The dearth
this boine and the possible threat
tion in these cave systems warrant further research to determine
the caves for both bats and snakes.
thank the Department
Mammalogy at the American Mu-
Natural History, the Center for Environmental Research
Dumont for providing financial support for our field trips.
Ecology, Evolution and Environ-
mental Biology, Columbia University; and Division
Zoology, American Museum
Natural History, Central Park West
at 79th Street New York, New York 10024-5192,
firstname.lastname@example.org). *Current address (RE): Sergelsgatan 4E, 416
57 Goteborg, Sweden.
Constricting snakes coil around their prey preventing
the prey from breathing. Additionally, they may cause circulatory
arrest in their prey by applying pressure to the thoracic cavity that
prevents the prey's heart from beating (Hardy 1994. Herpetol. Rev.
7). Here, I present evidence that when a constrictor handles
potentially dangerous prey, the violence
the attack, and method
constricting might produce structural damage to the prey that
reduces its ability to defend itself or escape. The following obser-
vations were taken in the Venezuelan llanos, Distrito Mufioz, Apure
State (7°30'N, 69°18'W).
26 April 1992, a female anaconda ( 455
kg mass), during the process
killing a young capybara (2.5 kg
mass) dislocated the capybara's spine at the cervical level. The
snake did not eat her prey because apparently other capybaras at-
tacked her. The capybara was found floating in the river the next
66 Herpetological Review 35( 1
day and examination of the body showed that the capybara had a
dislocated spine and evidence
anaconda teeth marks on its skin
matching the size
the snake's head. '
On 24 March 1992, I found a female anaconda (413.5 cm TL;
kg mass) that
(Odocoileus virginianus) weighing
Upon examination of
the regurgitated deer, I found that it had two broken ribs. I assume
that the constriction process caused the deer's ribs to break.
January 2001, a female anaconda (460 cm TL) regurgi-
tated a full-grown male white-tailed deer (
virginianus) that had
a disjointed spine at the cervical level.
In May 1999, a large anaconda (ca. 450 cm TL) was observed
constricting a large (ca. 180 cm TL) spectacled caiman (Caiman
crocodilus). During the process of constriction, it was apparent
the angle between the caiman's tail and body, that the
caiman's spine was broken (Fig.1).
In a recent account, an anaconda constricted a white collared
peccary (Tayassu tajacu) (Valderrama and Thorbjarnarson 2001.
32:46-47) and the authors reported that: "At some
point, a muffled crackling sound was heard, resembling that
many bones breaking all at once."
the peccary were actually breaking or
the sound was
that of vertebrae being dislocated. The following statement by the
the snake coiled itself round the peccary's torso and
squeezed, visibly stretching the peccary length-wise
the latter rather than the former.
The evidence presented here demonstrates that constriction by
anacondas can produce structural damage
prey in the form
broken bones and dislocated vertebrae. Hardy
cit.) argues that
the violence anq pressure exerted on the prey
higher than what
needed to cause suffocation and contends that the violence and
excessive pressure serves the purpose of producing circulatory
arrest. While I do not disagree with Hardy's interpretation, I be-
lieve the extra pressure and violence
the strike might also serve
the purpose of disjointing the spine or breaking ribs to reduce a
prey's ability to escape or defend itself and to expedite death.
I thank the Wildlife Conservation Society, National Geographic
Society, and Asociaccion para la Conservacion y Recate Ecologico
ACRE, Zoo de Doue la Fontaine-France for financial and logistic
support. I also thank COVEGAN, Estacion Biologica Hato El Frio,
Female Green Anaconda (ca. 450
TL) found constricting a
large Spectacled Caiman (ca. 180
the Venezuelan Llanos. It
apparent that the spine
the caiman has been dislocated.
for permits to work on their properties. I thank Tony Crocceta for
providing photographic material. I am also in debt to
Azuaje, Mirna Quero,
Munoz for their coop-
eration in the development
Evolutionary Biology, University
Tennessee. Knoxville, Ten-
nessee 37996, USA; e-mail: email@example.com.
(Yellow-Bellied Mangrove Snake)
(Richardson's Mangrove Snake).
Homolopsinae, a lineage
aquatic colubrids, are found through-
out southern Asia and northern Australia. Most species are pis-
civorous and ingest prey head first to assist digestion (Mori 1998.
Herpetol. 32:40--50). All species in Australia are considered to
be nocturnal (Gow 1989. Graeme Gow's Complete Guide to Aus-
tralian Snakes. Angus and Robertson Publishers, North Ryde.
pp.). Fordonia leucobalia
reported to feed predominantly on
Fiddler Crabs (Uca spp.), and occasionally on the Mud Lobster
(Thalassina anomala) and shrimps (Shine 1991. Copeia 1991:120--
little is documented regarding the feeding habits
Myron richardsonii apart from Shine (1991, op. cit.) who sug-
gested it feeds on a variety
report herein several obser-
these two species feeding by day in the man-
Ludmilla Creek, Darwin Harbour, Australia (12°25'S,
131°50'E) during 1998, with additional notes on prey consumed
and methods of ingestion.
On 3 March, at ca. 1400
a snake (ca. 40 cm TL), identified
Gow (1989, op cit.), was observed within
the mangrove forest. The snake was wrapped around a large male
Fiddler Crab ( U ca flammula
The snake did not consume the crab
and left it alive before moving down a nearby crab burrow, per-
being disturbed by the observer.
On 3April, at ca. 1200
leucobalia (brown dorsally and
yellow ventrally) was observed on a creek bank ingesting a
anomala. After ca.
min the snake ingested the lobster's tail,
biting firmly down to displace the head, creating a clearly audible
crunching sound. The snake consumed only the tail of the lobster,
leaving the head in the mud.
April, at ca. 1500 h, a reddish-black
observed within a channel ingesting a
above. On this occasion a second
leucobalia (black and white
morph) approached and began to coil around the first. The first
snake then consumed the tail
the mud lobster
and moved away from the second snake rapidly.
On 2 March, at ca. 1500
richardsonii was sighted on an
exposed track. On close inspection, there appeared to be a black-
colored nudibranch (Gastropoda) in the snake's mouth. The spe-
cies could not be determined because it was almost completely
encased in the snake's mouth.
The above observations report several previously undocumented
phenomena. First, these observations document diurnal feeding in
richardonii. Both species had been re-
strictly nocturnal (Gow 1989, op. cit.). Although ob-
served active by day throughout the year (MN, pers. obs.), feed-
ing activities were only observed from March to April, presum-
ably when prey are most abundant (Davis 1985. In Bardsley et al.
Herpetological Review 35( I), 2004