Reptiles/Query re snakes and prey
I have 2 questions:-
1) I would like to buy some snakes from Europe that eat tree-rats but preferably leave birds and their eggs alone(I like birdsong in my Northern Italian garden). Any suggestions welcome!
2) I have regularly seen snakes killing horned animals like small antelopes etc. in nature documentaries. However, I would have thought that the horns, however small, would routinely puncture the skin of the snake as they force it further down their bodies, thus killing the snake. How do the snakes solve that problem? Thanks!
1. Most snakes are opportunistic predators meaning they will take anything that walks or flies in front of them. So finding one with a discriminating pallet would be difficult. You'd need to look for a species that is as non-arboreal as possible. Unfortunately I am not very familiar with the snakes of Europe. If you were in N. America I would recommend members of the Pituophis family as their heavy bodies mean they don't climb much. Perhaps you should talk to a local zookeeper or maybe send me a list of which animals you could actually even get where you are and then I could do a little research on those species.
2. The horns can certainly cause problems and I don't think snakes eat horned animals as often as the documentaries would like us to believe. But these animals ARE evolved to swallowing whole prey items and their digestive systems are capable of handling things like horn and bone. And you'd need to remember that if a snake took a meal that large it probably wouldn't eat again for MANY months. And one other thing to remember, we often see them killing those animals but we don't often see them actually getting them down. Many times I have had animals kill prey items only to decide later that they couldn't actually eat it.