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Nature_and_Environment.102

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Evolution: Pitviper Scavenging ...

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{Nature_and_Environment.102.1}: {bshmr} Mon, 03 Nov 2008 09:55:57 CST (17 lines)

I think of pit-vipers as needing their poison to immobilize live
prey, not as scavenger. I wonder about the scope of the conjecture.

BioScience tip sheet, November 2008 A listing of peer-reviewed
articles from the issue The complete list of research articles in the
November 2008 issue of BioScience is as follows:

...

Pitviper Scavenging at the Intertidal Zone: An Evolutionary Scenario
for Invasion of the Sea. Harvey B. Lillywhite, Coleman M. Sheehy III,
and Frederic Zaidan III. Florida cottonmouth snakes that inhabit gulf
coast islands feed on dead fish and intertidal carrion, occasionally
entering the sea. The snakes suggest a model for how terrestrial
vertebrates may have taken up marine existence.

...

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{Nature_and_Environment.102.2}: Tonu Aun {tonu} Mon, 03 Nov 2008 15:54:05 CST (14 lines)

Several points Richard -- thanx for this. Elsewhere and elsewhen I've
mentioned my interest in snakes. From ten to thirteen I honestly can
claim I read everything available in the Chicago  Public Library
system  on snakes. I was a kid in a candy store once I received access
into the UofC stacks.

Possibly I was precocious but more likely REALLY obsessed ;-)

All snakes are opportunistic to varying degree. Most venomous snakes
only eat their prey once they have killed it. Eating dead prey is
what?:-)--- guess that means we humans are scavengers :-)

More seriously I'd want to know if Cottonmouths eat mostly found dead
stuff.... that would be a new fact I'm unaware of.

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{Nature_and_Environment.102.3}: James Files {riverrat} Mon, 03 Nov 2008 18:49:17 CST (3 lines)

I remember catching a catfish, having it flip of my hook and start
rolling down the bank.  I started following it down to be met by a
cottonmouth.  I retreated as it swallowed the fish.

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{Nature_and_Environment.102.4}: {bshmr} Mon, 03 Nov 2008 19:36:37 CST (10 lines)

Snakes sense infra-red and odors, IIRC. So, I have difficulty seeing
both hunting and scavenging in contrast to raptors which are visual
....

Besides, cottonmouths are deadly poisonous -- more so than rattlers
or copperheads, again IIRC.

NTYC: Somewhere I have a photo of a snake drinking within a foot of a
frog. The snake flicked its tongue, caught the sense, focused, and the
frog hopped across the five-foot deep pool.

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{Nature_and_Environment.102.5}: Tonu Aun {tonu} Mon, 03 Nov 2008 20:11:22 CST (HTML)

Besides, cottonmouths are deadly poisonous -- more so than rattlers or copperheads, again IIRC.... yes, on average but certain of the smaller rattlers have more potent venom and the larger rattlers have incredibly more venom though weaker per milliliter. It works out. Cottonmouths are more than average timid snakes and use the propensity to flee before striking. The most dangerous snake in NA, IMHO, is the Coral Snake --- real short fangs and timid with little venom yet super deadly.

The infra-red and odors are important.

What we consider raptors is also slanted --- the Bald Eagle for example is almost exclusively a carrion eater. (Tell me if I'm wrong on this Richard since I know you know birds far better)

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{Nature_and_Environment.102.6}: James Files {riverrat} Mon, 03 Nov 2008 20:39:24 CST (4 lines)

Tonu.
I know that during the Salmon runs they are almost exclusively
adventitious, not predatory.  According to Ben Franklin they are
cowardly eaters of carrion, unlike the noble turkey.

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{Nature_and_Environment.102.7}: {bshmr} Mon, 03 Nov 2008 21:42:37 CST (9 lines)

Bald eagles are primarily carrion feeders, again this is based on
visual identification of food -- a dead fish LOOKS like a live one, a
dead (non-flattened) rabbit looks like a rabbit, etc. [ Golden eagles
are considered 'hunters', IIRC. ]

Few bird species sense odors; and, their visual recognition abilities
of inanimate and stationary objects amaze me.

Oh, Tonu, without reference book(s), I 'suck' at birds.

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