Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What Goes In Must Come Out (but maybe not like this)

As the summer progresses, the snakes are eating more and more. I have witnessed four small mammals being swallowed by rattlesnakes: two squirrel pups and two mice. Furthermore, we have seen several snakes with food bulges (aka full bellies). In order to determine the diet of our population of snakes, we have made a few snakes regurgitate their meals. We found a pup in a small juvenile snake and an adult squirrel in an adult snake. Both of these meals are very interesting because they are large for these two snakes to eat (half of their body weight!). Also, adult squirrels are resistant to rattlesnake venom so it is interesting that an adult squirrel was ingested. Maybe our population of squirrels is not as resistant as we think. Check out natural snake feeding events and our regurgitation methods below!

Chewbacca eating a pup

Making a juvenile reguritate

 The finished product

 Posing with a partially digested squirrel

 An adult snake regurgitating an adult squirrel