Food versus risk: foraging decision in young Tiger snakes, Notechis scutatus

In: Amphibia-Reptilia
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  • 1 School of Animal Biology, M092, University of Western Australia, Perth, W A 6009, Australia
  • 2 Centre d'Etudes Biologiques de Chizé, CNRS, 79360 Villiers en Bois, France
  • 3 School of Biological Sciences A08, The University of Sydney, Sydney NSW 2006, Australia

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Abstract

Foraging behaviour is influenced by an animal's level of hunger, and may reflect a trade-off between optimizing food acquisition and avoiding predation. Young tiger snakes were raised either on a high or low food diet and exposed to a predation threat while foraging. Under these circumstances, lower condition snakes (low food diet) were prone to take additional feeding/foraging risks: food was accepted at a much higher rate compared with the higher condition animals (high food diet) that were less inclined to risk feeding under a predation threat. This study provides the first direct example of predation risk-associated foraging decisions in snakes.

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