Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Wild Florida Red Rat Snake Swallows Lizard

Wild Florida Red Rat Snake

A young Red Rat Snake (also called a Corn Snake) captures and squeezes a Brown Anole Lizard not much small than itself and spends the next 15 minutes slowly swallowing it. Florida Red Rat Snakes are constrictors just like their large exotic cousins such as the invasive Burmese Pythons and they capture, kill and eat their prey the same way, just on a much smaller scale. This one does it all while hanging upside down from a backyard outbuilding. Mostly nocturnal, the snakes learn that the outdoor lighting attracts lizards and that is prime hunting ground. Unlike the invasive pythons that kill and displace native wildlife, this snake is a native and performs an invaluable service by keeping the lizards, mice and rats in check. The Brown Anole Lizard being eaten is itself an invasive species that is relatively larger than native lizards and more agressive and rapidly displacing Green Anole Lizards and timid Gecko's. These snakes should not be killed. Unfortunately finding a small snake like this doing its job in the backyard too often leads to the killing of the snake. This little backyard drama allows us a closeup look at the process. The camera was only 3 or 4 inches from the snake the entire time. This snake is undoubtedly the offspring of this large Red Rat Snake filmed earlier this summer:

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