New Find: Snake That Eviscerates Its Living Prey (Toads)

EnolaGaia

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Here's today's nightmare fodder ...

We are accustomed to images of snakes swallowing their prey. A few snakes rip mouthfuls from their dead prey. For the first time, a snake - the Asian kukri snake - has been observed burying its head into the abdomen of its preferred prey (toads) and taking its time supping on the still-living amphibian's organs.

:nails: :sick2:
Snakes disembowel toads and feast on the living animal's organs one by one

This gruesome behavior was previously unknown in snakes.

Pity the toads that encounter Asian kukri snakes in Thailand. These snakes use enlarged, knifelike teeth in their upper jaws to slash and disembowel toad prey, plunging their heads into the abdominal cavities and feasting on the organs one at a time while the toads are still alive, leaving the rest of the corpse untouched.

While you're recovering from the horror of that sentence, "perhaps you'd be pleased to know that kukri snakes are, thankfully, harmless to humans," amateur herpetologist and naturalist Henrik Bringsøe, lead author in a new study describing the gruesome technique, said in a statement.

This grisly dining habit was previously unknown in snakes; while some rip chunks from their prey, most snakes gulp down their meals whole. Scientists had never before seen a snake Bury its head inside an animal's body to slurp up organs — sometimes taking hours to do so, Bringsøe and his colleagues reported. ...

The victims of this horrific organ-slurping were poisonous toads called Duttaphrynus melanostictus, also known as Asian common toads or Asian black-spotted toads ...

During the deadly battle, the toads fought "vigorously" for their lives, with some defensively secreting a toxic white substance, according to the study. The snakes' grisly evisceration strategy could be a way to avoid the toad's poisonous secretions while still enjoying a tasty meal, the researchers wrote.

Kukri snakes in the Oligodon genus are so named because their slashing teeth resemble the kukri, a forward-curving machete from Nepal. While kukri snakes aren't a threat to people, their teeth can cause painful lacerations that bleed heavily, because the snakes secrete an anticoagulant from specialized oral glands, according to the study.

"This secretion, produced by two glands, called Duvernoy's glands and located behind the eyes of the snakes, are likely beneficial while the snakes spend hours extracting toad organs," Bringsøe explained. ...

FULL STORY (With Photos):
https://www.livescience.com/snakes-disembowel-toads.html
 

EnolaGaia

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Here are the bibliographic details and abstract of the published research report. The full report is accessible at the link below.

Eviscerated alive: Novel and macabre feeding strategy in Oligodon fasciolatus (Günther, 1864) eating organs of Duttaphrynus melanostictus (Schneider, 1799) in Thailand
Henrik Bringsøe, Maneerat Suthanthangjai, Winai Suthanthangjai, Kanjana Nimnuam
Herpetozoa 33: 157-163.
https://doi.org/10.3897/herpetozoa.33.e57096

Abstract
A hitherto unknown feeding mode among snakes is described for the colubrid snake Oligodon fasciolatus in Northeast Thailand. Three cases of O. fasciolatus using enlarged posterior maxillary teeth to cut open the abdomen of a live poisonous toad Duttaphrynus melanostictus and eat its organs are described. The snakes and toads fought vigorously, and the toads secreted toxic white liquid on the dorsum and neck. The snakes inserted their heads into the abdomen of the toads, pulled out some of the organs and swallowed them. The snakes and toads were adults. All three cases were documented by extensive photographic material.

In a fourth case from Central Thailand, an adult O. fasciolatus was observed swallowing an entire semi-adult D. melanostictus.

The majority of all snake species swallow their prey in one piece, but to place our observations in a broader context we review a number of exceptions.

SOURCE / FULL REPORT:
https://herpetozoa.pensoft.net/article/57096/
 

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EnolaGaia

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Field researchers and wildlife observers have discovered two additional species of kukri snakes that burrow into and eviscerate their living amphibian prey ...
Snakes insert their heads into living frogs' bodies to swallow their organs (because nature is horrifying)

For knife-toothed kukri snakes, the tastiest parts of a frog are its organs, preferably sliced out of the body cavity and eaten while the frog is still alive. After observing this grisly habit for the first time in Thailand, scientists have spotted two more kukri snake species that feast on the organs of living frogs and toads.

The new (and gory) observations suggested that this behavior is more widespread in this snake group than expected. Two snakes also eventually swallowed their prey whole, raising new questions about why they would extract the living animals' organs first.

The scientists documented a Taiwanese kukri snake (Oligodon formosanus) and an ocellated kukri snake (Oligodon ocellatus) pursuing amphibian organ meals, tearing open frogs' and toads' abdomens and burying their heads inside, according to the studies. O. formosanus would even perform "death rolls" while clutching its prey, perhaps to shake the organs loose. As the snakes swallowed the organs one by one, the amphibians were still alive. Sometimes, the process would take hours, the researchers reported. ...

FULL STORY: https://www.livescience.com/snakes-gut-living-frogs-and-toads.html
 
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You know it had to be done.
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