Animal IQ

Some Snakes Hunt In Packs, Which Is Not At All Terrifying

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What's scarier than a snake slithering in your direction? Try a pack of snakes. Yep: if you didn't think two-headed snakes and flying snakes were bad enough, we're here to reveal your new worst nightmare. A May 2017 study reports that some snakes actually hunt in packs.

Power In Numbers

Researchers from the University of Tennessee discovered small populations of Cuban boas living in caves that followed a peculiar behavior: they coordinate their hunting to capture bats. How do they do it, exactly? According to the study press release, around dusk when bats are leaving the cave and dawn when they're returning, the boas will find a spot to hang from the ceiling and "grab passing bats in midair." (We'll give you a moment to catch your breath). When several boas are all vying to catch a flying morsel, they'll cooperate, spacing themselves out so they'll form a sort of living wall across the cave entrance. We'll never play Red Rover the same way again.

The researchers note that this hunting strategy is "always successful," and the more snakes there were, the less time it took for them to catch dinner. Solo hunters, on the other hand, sometimes went home hungry.

A Slithering Mystery

This is plenty scary, but is it common? There are more than 3,500 snake species out there, and we've only witnessed the hunting practices of a few. Vladimir Dinets, a research assistant professor of psychology at UT, explains that while it's possible that coordinated isn't uncommon among snakes, "it will take a lot of very patient field research to find out." The world needs researchers to camp out and watch snakes form cave curtains of terror. Any takers?

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