And if the cobras were … cannibals?


Sci-tech22: 58 05.10.2018 (updated 22:59 05.10.2018) Short URLThe overwhelming majority of African cobras eat their congeners and other snakes for reasons of comfort, safety and ritual, have discovered South African scientists whose study was published in the journal Ecology.Searchers from several universities in South Africa have established that 80% of African cobras were cannibals, announce the magazine Ecology.
"We found that snakes make up about 13% to 40% of the cobras ration. Despite widely held belief, cannibal tendencies are widespread among these reptiles, "said Bryan Maritz of Western Cape University and colleagues.
This conclusion was made by scientists after their expedition to the Kalahari Desert. They witnessed a fight between two cape cobras (Naja nivea). After this duel, the winner ate his dead opponent.
Other observations have shown that Cape cobras are not the only cannibals, royal cobras and other representatives of the Naja genus are also. One third of the Cape Cobras' diet consists of their congeners and other snakes. In spitting cobras, this index reaches 38%.
As for the reasons for this behavior, the researchers believe that the cannibal practices of these snakes can be explained by the ritual character of the fighting between males. According to the study, almost all cases were recorded between male specimens of cobras.
In addition, it is easier for cobras to attack representatives of their genus than other animals that may be faster and more dangerous, the scientists conclude.