There are many different kinds of snakes. Some of them can swim, some can sidewind across the sand, and others can fly. But for the first time, wildlife experts have seen a bizarre way of a brown tree snake climbing up the pole to reach the nest box in Guam.
The brown tree snake has developed a tree climbing mechanism like humans. They wrap themselves around the tree or pole in a lasso-like grip as it wriggles to move up and reach its goal.
According to Science News, the tree brown snakes can shimmy themselves up the structure that is too wide to climb.
Lasso Tree Climbing Technique
Biologists in Guam who cared for endangered Micronesian starlings discovered that brown tree snakes could be the culprit why these birds were found dead on their nest box. They were baffled as to how the snakes could do that when the duct pipe was too large for the snakes' usual climbing ability, Smithsonian Magazine reported.
They checked the infrared trap camera pointed at the nest box which provided CCTV-like time-lapse footage of how the snakes break into the nest box. They found that the brown tree snake looped its body around the duct pipe and propelled itself up for 15 minutes. The wildlife biologists claimed that it was their first time to witness such behavior in the wild.
But they also said that this behavior was observed in a lab while they were finding a way to keep the snakes from climbing to the nest box. Wildlife biologists Thomas Seibert and Martin Kastner created a setup where they thought snakes could not come up but ended up being wrong because the tie-lapse video showed how the snake looped its body to the pole to climb up.
"We looked at each other in total shock because this was not anything that we expected or had ever seen," Seibert said. "We had to watch this over and over just to be sure that we were seeing what we thought we were seeing."
They said that this behavior is unexpected and that it has never been seen before. They called it the "lasso locomotion" and published the study in the journal Current Biology.
Lasso Locomotion Versus Other Types of Snake Locomotions
Snakes usually climbed trees using concertina locomotion wherein they grip a tree trunk or pole at two anchor points. The snakes would use their upper bodies to climb upward and establish a grip with their lower bodies. They repeat this process when their lower grip becomes stable.
However, it is different with lasso locomotion. Snakes using this type of climbing technique loop their bodies to the cylinder and they slowly push themselves up by bending slightly until it creates a steady ascent.
Lasso locomotion joins four other types of snake locomotions that have been identified in the past 100 years. By far, it is the slowest and most strenuous way for snakes to move because it would take about two hours to climb a ten feet high pole or tree. Since it is a very strenuous activity, the snakes take a little break to take a breath, which sometimes lasts between 10 to 15 minutes.
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