Arboreality, excavation, and active foraging: novel observations of radiotracked woma pythons Aspidites ramsayi

Bruton, Melissa J. (2013) Arboreality, excavation, and active foraging: novel observations of radiotracked woma pythons Aspidites ramsayi. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum - Nature, 56 2: 313-329.

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Author Bruton, Melissa J.
Title Arboreality, excavation, and active foraging: novel observations of radiotracked woma pythons Aspidites ramsayi
Formatted title
 Arboreality, excavation, and active foraging: novel observations of radiotracked woma pythons Aspidites ramsayi
Journal name Memoirs of the Queensland Museum - Nature   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0079-8835
Publication date 2013-06-30
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 56
Issue 2
Start page 313
End page 329
Total pages 17
Place of publication Brisbane, QLD, Australia
Publisher Queensland Museum
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Novel wild behaviours were observed during a 21 month intensive radiotracking study of the woma python Aspidites ramsayi (Macleay, 1882) in south-western Queensland, Australia. Arboreal behaviour was unexpected in this terrestrial and burrow-dwelling species, with no previous anecdotal or published reports. Arboreal activity occurred strictly at night during warm weather and was associated with sleeping reptile predation, particularly predation upon bearded dragons Pogona barbata (Cuvier, 1829). Excavation behaviour in wild womas was predicted from captive specimens in 1981, but has not been reported to date. Two observations of radiotracked womas excavating in alluvial clay soils are detailed with comments on the function of this behaviour. Finally, brief descriptions and a summary of all thirteen feeding observations are given. Bearded dragons P. barbata, sand goannas Varanus gouldii (Gray, 1838) and yakka skinks Egernia rugosa (De Vis, 1888) were the most commonly observed prey items; however predation and ingestion of one large mammal - an adult hare Lepus capensis (Linneaus, 1758) - was also observed. Pre- and post-feeding movements indicate an active foraging strategy predominates; however ambush behaviour was also observed. Here I outline and summarise these novel wild behavioural observations and discuss them in the context of known snake ecology and physiology. These observations greatly enhance the behavioural and ecological understanding of this large, yet elusive python.
Keyword Reptile
Feeding snake
Radio-tracking
Arid
Temperature
Caudal luring
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management Publications
Official 2014 Collection
 
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Created: Mon, 17 Feb 2014, 16:36:47 EST by Claire Lam on behalf of School of Geography, Planning & Env Management