The 13th Floor

Scientist Discovers Snakes Are Teaming Up to Hunt in Packs

If you’ve been following our stories on nature’s creepiest (and sometimes deadliest) creatures and what they’ve been up to lately, it’s possible you’re starting to worry about an approaching animal apocalypse involving some combination of spiders, snakes, alligators or the like.

Well, let’s just say this new discovery isn’t going to help calm your fears.

According to CNN, Vladimir Dinets, Assistant Research Professor in Psychology at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, has published a new study on the predatory behavior of the Cuban boa (species Chilabothrus angulifer) based on his observations over an eight-day period, during which the snakes engaging in what is known as “coordinated hunting.”

These boas — which range from 3 to 6 feet long — have been observed on numerous occasions teaming up to hunt their primary prey.

Image Credit: iStock/Mr_Fu

While snakes have been observed hunting in groups before, this is the first scientific documentation of the reptiles using coordinated strategy to increase their chances of trapping large fruit bats when they emerge from their caves at sunset.

Dinets’ study suggests that “boas take the positions of other individuals into account when choosing the hunting location,” allowing them to form a barrier across the cave entrance. “This significantly improves the effectiveness of the hunt,” he theorizes, “apparently because they can most effectively block the prey’s flight path and easily intercept passing bats.”

There’s some comfort in the knowledge that this particular snake species is too small to ensnare a human (as far as we know). But it also indicates some snakes are capable of working together to increase the chances of a good kill… and we already know there are way bigger snakes out there, perhaps seeking the perfect opportunity for a heartier meal…