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1 May 2006 Fixed Videography to Study Predation Behavior of an Ambush Foraging Snake, Crotalus Horridus
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Abstract

Our ability to understand predator-prey systems is often limited by a lack of detailed information on fundamental aspects of organismal natural history. It is particularly difficult to gather quantitative data on the behavior of sit-and-wait predators, which are generally secretive and feed infrequently. In this study I use video surveillance equipment to record natural interactions between a predator, Crotalus horridus, and its prey. From observations of 17 individuals over two years, a total of 87 encounters with prey were recorded, with snakes successfully attacking 13% of prey items that came within striking distance. Snakes stayed at ambush sites for a mean of 17 hours and were estimated to feed between 12 and 15 times over the course of a season, consuming between 1250 and 1550 g of prey per snake, mostly woodland rodents (Peromyscus, Microtus, Clethrionomys, Tamias, and Sciurus). These data represent some of the most detailed quantitative measures on snake foraging behavior and predator-prey interactions available and can be used to inform general ecological and behavioral models in similar systems.

Rulon W. Clark "Fixed Videography to Study Predation Behavior of an Ambush Foraging Snake, Crotalus Horridus," Copeia 2006(2), (1 May 2006). https://doi.org/10.1643/0045-8511(2006)6[181:FVTSPB]2.0.CO;2
Received: 12 February 2005; Accepted: 1 January 2006; Published: 1 May 2006
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