‘SA is crawling with cannibals’: research

“As a result‚ scientific understanding of snake dietary ecology [beyond simple prey lists] remains remarkably superficial outside of a few species‚” he said.

“This work highlights a renewed effort to meaningfully quantify several aspects of snake natural history‚ especially in poorly studied regions such as Africa.”

“Cobras” consist of about 30 venomous species‚ six of which were included in the study. The results suggest that cobras frequently eat other snakes — they accounted for up to 43% of all species they consumed — and that cannibalism may be common‚ since five of the six species displayed the behaviour.

Maritz said understanding how snakes interact with each other and other species could provide a basis for learning about more complex behaviour in different scenarios.

He hoped that “improved understanding of snake ecology and feeding in general will help to highlight the ecological functional roles that snakes are performing in African ecosystems”.

Cape cobras occurs are found throughout the Western Cape‚ Northern Cape‚ Eastern Cape‚ Free State‚ and North West Province. They are also found in the southern half of Namibia‚ southwestern Botswana‚ and western Lesotho.

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