Tuesday, March 30, 2021

I Am A Lariat

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Biological Evolution, Wildlife, Nature, Biodiversity, behavior

Ed Hessler

Guam's venomous brown tree snake, Boiga irregularis, uses a mode of locomotion new to researchers and human technology. In this video, the snake, an invasive species to Guarm, ties its body into a lasso, using it to shimmy up poles designed to protect bird nests. This species is rear-fanged and not considered poisonous to humans.

Not all snakes are equally successful. Tess Joosse who wrote the comment about this newly found behavior notes "Not all of the snakes—which ranged in length from 99 to 193 centimeters—actually climbed, notes Julie Savidge, an ecologist at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, and a co-author of the study. Some made the lasso, but couldn’t move themselves up the poles, whereas others just hung out on the ground below. And the snakes that did lasso their way up did so slowly, at rates of less than 1 centimeter per second, and they seemed to be huffing and puffing as they rippled upward." You gotta' love that last phrase no matter the cautionary "seemed."

To give you an idea of the ecological menace they represent since they were introduced to Guam more than 70years ago they have managed to consume almost all the native birds. Researcher thought they had developed a solution when nests were placed on top of smooth poles, confident that the snakes could not climb them.

The video is at the top of a short written comments (~4m read)

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