Researchers have been studying the predator-prey relationship between rattlesnakes and ground squirrels for decades. They’ve known that the rattlesnake diet consists mainly of ground squirrel pups and that when adult ground squirrels approach rattlesnakes, the furry rodents wag, or flag, their tails from side to side. In 2007, a team of scientists observed that not only do the squirrels flag their tails at the snakes, but they also increase the temperature of their tails during the confrontation (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0702599104). The reason for this complex behavior, however, is still unknown.
by Lauren K. Wolf |
April 23, 2012