posted on 09/09/2022 11:45
‘Tantilla oolitica’ is hard to find because it often lives among rocks – (credit: Drew Martin/Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute)
The rarest snake in North America was recently seen after four years without a record. In addition to being rare, the encounter was even more surprising. The specimen was found dead while feeding on a giant centipede. THE Oolitic tantilla he had half the centipede in his mouth, which was also dead.
This was the first time that scientists were able to observe how the snake feeds. The record was shared in March by the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI), which is located in Florida, United States, and this Sunday (4/9) the results of a study on the record were published in the journal ecology.
“It is extremely rare to find specimens that died while eating prey, and given the rarity of this species, I would never have anticipated finding something like this. We were all totally stunned,” said Coleman Sheehy, co-author of the study.
According to the scientists, the first impression was that the snake’s cause of death could have been asphyxiation, as the centipede was much larger than the specimen. However, this cause was unlikely as snakes have flexible jaws that allow them to feed on animals much larger than themselves.
A fatal duel between a very rare snake and a giant centipede fascinated nature fans and scientists alike. ???? Tantilla oolitica once thrived in pine rocklands that spread from Central FL south to the Keys but now many fear it’s on the verge of extinction.https://t.co/o1LRESvfdE pic.twitter.com/cDPLKpC05p
— Florida Museum (@FloridaMuseum) September 7, 2022
With the help of a CT scan, the researchers were then able to solve the mystery. The snake had a wound, which was probably caused by the centipede’s pincers, which have venom. In addition, the researchers realized that the snake’s trachea was also pinched, which may have caused asphyxiation.
THE Oolitic tantilla it is difficult to find because it usually lives among rocks.