(CNN) — We thought snakes did all of it, from flying by way of the air to lasing your physique to climbing slippery surfaces. Now, researchers have found a species able to cartwheeling.
Present in elements of Southeast Asia akin to southern Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra, Borneo and the Philippines, the dwarf cane snake –Pseudorabdion longiceps– Small and nocturnal, it hides through the day in leaf litter or beneath rocks or logs, researchers say. Nevertheless, its small measurement makes it susceptible to birds and different snakes, such because the striped coral snake.
Small snakes typically have a formidable arsenal to defend themselves towards predators: camouflage, coloration, scent, enjoying lifeless, intimidation, or… working away.
There have been anecdotal stories that the dwarf cane snake might escape, however researchers have documented the bizarre protection mechanism for the primary time, in a paper revealed within the journal Wednesday. Biomechanics.
Whereas conducting herpetological surveys in quest of different species, the researchers discovered a one-year-old dwarf cane snake that, startled, “began to throw the coils of its physique in a spiral and attempt to escape”, managing to maneuver round 1.5 meter on the highway in lower than 5 seconds.
“As a result of the cartwheel seems to be very metabolically demanding, snakes can not maintain it for very lengthy, often just a few seconds,” corresponding creator Ivan Seng Huat Kwa of the College of Malaysia instructed CNN in an electronic mail. Sabah.
By pushing down an incline, the snake was in a position to achieve velocity and canopy extra floor shortly. “The snake was captured and positioned on a flat space subsequent to the highway, the place it repeated the leaping movement a number of occasions,” the researchers write. Article..
Cua, who had seen this “wonderful” conduct in a dwarf cane snake earlier than, was glad his workforce had the recording gear readily available.
They noticed the snake “performing energetic tics by repeatedly throwing its physique coils into the air and rolling downwards,” in keeping with a information launch. This conduct has not been systematically noticed in some other species of snake or reptile, the workforce provides, though swinging has been recorded as an escape technique in some invertebrates, akin to moth caterpillars and desert spiders.
However don’t fear: Dwarf reed snakes received’t pounce on you for no purpose should you do encounter them.
Snakes use this curious motion sample once they really feel threatened and wish to keep away from seize. Researchers additionally speculate that they might achieve this to startle and confuse predators, together with different snakes.
“Not solely does this sudden motion startle and confuse visually oriented predators, however the rattle leaves a disconnected scent path that misleads predators and offers the snake extra time to flee,” Kua instructed CNN.
In accordance with Kua, his workforce believes this conduct extends past the dwarf cane snake to different species, “particularly cane snakes within the household.” Calamari“. There are stories of instances of different species performing this conduct, together with one other member of the identical species. Pseudorabdion alphonusalisAlso referred to as white-necked cane snake.