Animals

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

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

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.