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Published on Apr 24, 2008
Snake takes bites out of crab!! Dr. Bruce Jayne of the University of Cincinnati (Ohio, USA) shot this infra-red video of a captive Gerard's water snake (Gerarda prevostiana) eating a freshly molted crab (Episesarma) that is still soft. This individual was captured and observed in Singapore, and this species of snake is found on the muddy surfaces of the mangroves along the coasts of many Southeast Asian countries where crabs are an abundant resource. This snake uses a unique behavior to rip apart crabs when they are larger than can be swallowed whole. The maximum gape (diameter of mouth opening) of this snake was only 9 mm, and yet it was able to consume this crab which had a body (excluding legs) that was 21 mm wide. For more information on the behavior of crab eating snakes read Jayne, B.C., Harold K. Voris & Peter K.L. Ng. (2002). Snake circumvents constraints on prey size. Nature 418:143.