The Smooth Snake, Coronella austriaca, is an ambush predator that waits for its main prey, the Wall Lizard, Podarcis muralis, inside dark rock crevices where lizards retreat. Pheromonal secretions of lizards could be used by snakes to select foraging sites but also during predatory episodes when identifying lizards under conditions of low visibility is beneficial. We used cotton applicators labeled with lizard scent to determine whether Smooth Snakes can discriminate the chemical cues of Wall Lizards. We also asked whether snakes could discriminate between male and female lizards, or detect male scents before female ones, which could indicate differential susceptibility of the sexes to predation. The greater tongue-flick rate in response to Wall Lizard scent than to deionized water or cologne indicated that C. austriaca is able to discriminate the chemical cues of Wall Lizards, but it did not discriminate between the sexes of lizard prey.
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