Striped Skaapsteker - constrictor?

South African snakes with venoms that are not considered to be medically important.

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Striped Skaapsteker - constrictor?

Postby John Rees » Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:29 pm

I have watched my Striped Skaapstekers feeding a few times now and I am curious to know whether it can be considered that they are constricting or using venom or perhaps a combination of both?

Some photos of one of them showing how they always wrap a couple of tight coils around the mouse and don't appear to be chewing or envenomating the mouse. Any opinions or information would be welcomed?

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Re: Striped Skaapsteker - constrictor?

Postby shadowfoot » Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:08 pm

I have seen these eat a couple of times and each time they would bite and then constrict. Maybe its because their venom is weak and wont kill the prey item quickly enough so adding a good squeeze helps and prevents the prey(especially mice) from injuring it?
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Re: Striped Skaapsteker - constrictor?

Postby Jacquesvw » Thu Mar 15, 2012 9:21 am

shadowfoot wrote:I have seen these eat a couple of times and each time they would bite and then constrict. Maybe its because their venom is weak and wont kill the prey item quickly enough so adding a good squeeze helps and prevents the prey(especially mice) from injuring it?


I also observed the same feeding behavior, so I guess it's common for them to constrict as well.
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Re: Striped Skaapsteker - constrictor?

Postby Fooble » Thu Mar 15, 2012 9:35 am

It's common with this Species and the Rhombic Skaapsteker, their venom yield is relatively mild an you would have noticed they need to "chew: on the animal for quite some time for the venom to take effect.

Constricting of course helps the snake not get dragged behind a thrashing and hoping away mouse.
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Re: Striped Skaapsteker - constrictor?

Postby Bushviper » Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:15 am

The constriction seems to be a move to immobilise the prey while the venom takes effect and not actually kill it. Feed them dead food and just wiggle the tweezers. Even small mice can bite your snakes.
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Re: Striped Skaapsteker - constrictor?

Postby rolandslf » Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:31 am

My Rhombic Skaapstekers do not seem to constrict. They do however definitely chew.
I took a bite from a 3 month old hatchling last weekend. He actually got a bit of a chew going before I dislodged him. There were no effects recorded at all, is this because he is still so small. If I can get the bite pics off of my Blackberry, I will post them.
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Re: Striped Skaapsteker - constrictor?

Postby John Rees » Sat Mar 17, 2012 12:14 am

Many thanks for the comments and suggestions. I must just add that I have two of these and had one on F/T mice but the other won't touch them so it is a bit frustrating. The other thing is that never having owned anything venemous except the odd herald snake, I am always amazed at just how effective and quick constriction in killing. I still have a couple of constrictors (Auroras) that won't eat anything except live and the prey dies within a few seconds. Now the same thing happens with the skaapie. Very quick and I am tending to doubt that the venom has much to do with it. Probably a combination of the two I guess?

BV I will keep trying with F/T mice until we get it right! Thanks again
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