This Snake Rips its Prey Into Pieces, Instead of Swallowing it Whole

Published 17 Apr 2018, 14:13 BST
This Snake Rips its Prey Into Pieces, Instead of Swallowing it Whole

The cat-eyed water snake has an exquisite taste for crabs. However, that gusto is reserved for freshly molted crabs that have softer shells. And it eats them in a unique way: it rips them apart. It doesn't swallow its prey whole, like almost every other species of snake.

To rip the crab apart, it holds it with its mouth and loops its body around it – then it pulls. This loop and pull behaviour mangles the body and makes it easier to take apart. The larger the prey, the more loop and pulls. The small serpent lives in mangrove swamps throughout southeast Asia. The eating habits may offer advantages over other crustacean-eating snakes.

Read More

explore videos

Animals2:31

This creature truly deserves the name 'jaws'... and it doesn't live in the sea

You might also like

Animals
This creature truly deserves the name 'jaws'... and it doesn't live in the sea
Science and Technology
Many animals play dead—and not just to avoid getting eaten
Animals
These birds flock in mesmerising swarms of thousands—but why is still a mystery.
Animals
Invasive snakes move their bodies like lassos, a totally new mode of locomotion
Animals
Ogre-faced spiders have great hearing—without ears

Explore Nat Geo

  • Animals
  • Environment
  • History & Culture
  • Science
  • Travel
  • Photography
  • Space
  • Adventure
  • Video

About us

Subscribe

  • Magazines
  • Newsletter
  • Disney+

Follow us

Copyright © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society. Copyright © 2015-2021 National Geographic Partners, LLC. All rights reserved