Burmese pythons 'singing'

Burmese pythons 'singing'

Postby Boadicea » Wed Mar 14, 2007 10:03 am

Call me mad but I don't believe that Burms 'vibrate' only to raise body temperature.
Some of my other pythons sing too. My beautiful jungle carpet python girl was stretching out to me through the glass of her tank the other day and I opened it thinking she wanted a mouse. I offered her one but she ignored it and continued stretching up on to my arm. When I touched her she was 'singing'.
My normal Burmese girl did the same thing the other day. I had taken her out of her cage for a while and when I put her back she did not want to go in. She was also reaching out and up to me and when I touched her neck to put her back so I could close the door she was singing.
On another occasion, one of my baby RTBs was also doing it when I touched her tummy. She was hanging on the light tube at the time and it was already quite warm so I doubt that she was trying to raise body temperature.
Does anyone know of any in depth studies that have been done on this phenomenon?
I am always so thrilled when they do it to me. Especially as it has always seemed to be a response or communication of sorts since a lot of the time they are reaching out to me when they do it.
I read the other day that snakes can pick up on earthquakes days before they happen and I wonder if they don't inhabit a world of vibration at subsonic level that we are unaware of and that they can communicate at that level too.
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Postby Iggy » Fri Mar 16, 2007 1:08 pm

wouldn't call you mad at all....
I think we are naive to think that animals "don't" communicate just because we are not aware of it. But, I think it will be a long time before the general scientific community will research or recognise it because then it would be very hard to justify how we treat some of our creatures.
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Postby Boadicea » Fri Mar 16, 2007 1:14 pm

Ok Boadicea seeing as none of the cognoscenti on this forum saw fit to answer your question I will do my best.

I did a bit of research on the internet and came up with this interesting backgound article on endothermy and ectomthermy http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/15 ... ndothermy/

Here are a few excerpts;

By measuring an American alligator's oxygen consumption on a treadmill, Colleen Farmer and colleagues found that alligators' basal metabolic rate was low, while their maximal oxygen consumption during exercise was moderately high.

Bennett and Ruben, along with Hicks, continued their work by again looking at metabolic rates in resting savannah lizards and found that even when they were fed excessively, increasing their visceral metabolic rates, the animals became neither endothermic nor homeothermic (maintaining a constant body temperature). Bennett and Ruben referred to the aerobic scope as the absolute increment of the maximal rate of oxygen transport above the resting rate of oxygen transport. This, they said, should be higher in endotherms.

Pawel Koteja, of Jagiellonian University in Krakw, Poland, has in recent years also come to the conclusion that the origin of endothermy is related to parental care. He summarizes the two types of hypotheses on its evolution. "The first assumed that thermoregulatory advantages were sufficient to explain the evolution [of] high basal metabolic rates and endothermy in birds and mammals," he notes. "The second assumed that the evolution of high BMR was (at least initially) a side effect of a selection for other traits." He adds, "My hypotheses that endothermy evolved as a side effect of intensive parental care associated with feeding the young [published in Proceedings: Biological Sciences in 2000] belong to the second group." Koteja sees the parental care model as an "alternative to all the 'thermoregulatory' hypotheses as well as an alternative to the 'aerobic capacity model.'" He notes, "The keystone of the 'parental care' models is that the cost of an increased metabolic rate of adults is rewarded by several advantages to embryos and/or juveniles." Farmer, however, hypothesizes that parental care came first. "I'm saying there's independent selection for metabolic rate-it's about rapid rates of reproduction." In Farmer's view, the gist of endothermy can be distilled simply to a better chance of survival.

There is also this little gem found in a paper on ventricular haemodynamics in Python molurus at http://jeb.biologists.org/cgi/reprint/206/23/4241.pdf
Alternatively, it is possible that ventricular pressure separation
in Python molurus is related to its use of shivering
thermogenesis during egg incubation, which results in large
and prolonged metabolic increments (Hutchison et al., 1966;

There is another interesting titbit herehttp://www.sebiology.org/meetings/2 ... dfs/a7.pdf
notably Python molurus, and some other species
of pythons, are unique by being able to increase
body temperature through shivering thermogenesis while
incubating their eggs. This associated with long-lasting
and profound increases in metabolic rate. The link
between shivering thermogenesis and ventricular pressure
separation is, however, not obvious. Thus, while
Python reticulates has been reported to incubate their
eggs, Python regius does not. It is possible that shivering
thermogenesis and ventricular pressure separation coevolved
in the stem group of pythons, but that some
species subsequently lost incubation of eggs, while
retaining a functionally divided heart.
Vinegar et al., 1970).
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Postby Boadicea » Fri Mar 16, 2007 1:21 pm

Gee thanks for the replies Boadicea and Iggy.
:smt041
I still have some questions though. If the purpose of pythons shivering is thermoregulation then why don't they do it to keep themselves warm? If they did so would they then be ectothermic or endothermic?
If they only shiver to keep their eggs warm then why do they shiver when they have no eggs and their bodies are not even in incubation position?
I was intrigued to see Boadicea that one of your references says that other pythons also shiver. It is not clear however that they shiver only when incubating or at other times?
Do the males also "shiver"? Or is this only a female phenomenon? Also if the males do shiver, do they also incubate eggs or not?
Sorry for all the questions. Maybe you can extend your internet research a bit more Boadicea?
Thanks again :lol:
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Postby Boadicea » Fri Mar 16, 2007 1:33 pm

Ok Boadicea. Will see what I can do. I did come across one interesting statement concerning if Burms are endotherms. It reads:
At least one snake is an endotherm during part of its life: the Burmese Python, a common python sold in many pet stores, it grows up to about 20 feet. The females wrap around their eggs and contract their muscles to generate heat and incubate the eggs. During this time, the
females maintain an appreciably elevated body temperature.
See http://www.holycross.edu/departments/bi ... mpReg2.pdf for more.
Apparently you get endothermic fish too!
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Postby Stef@n » Fri Mar 16, 2007 2:48 pm

What do you mean by singing?
Anyways, a while ago I accidently disturbed my boa when she was feeding, and all the sudden showed her annoyance by wagging her tail in the same manner as a cat would do, and continued to to so through out the feeding process! I thought it to be quite cute and unusual. Don't know if any one else ever noticed something like that? And no, i didn't take a video...sorry!
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Postby Bushbaby » Fri Mar 16, 2007 4:09 pm

lol Boadicea. Love this post... almost like a one man band! Maybe people just think you're mad. Hey. You said it! Not me. hee hee

I will read through your post a little later. I've had rather limited access to the net, and been slightly busy, so will give it a read through sometime this weekend or next week.
http://www.snakebiteassist.co.za
http://www.reptileexpo.co.za
http://www.boaconstrictors.co.za
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Postby Burmbuddy » Fri Mar 16, 2007 10:26 pm

Hy Boadicea,great topic!!!!

read the other day that snakes can pick up on earthquakes days before they happen and I wonder if they don't inhabit a world of vibration at subsonic level that we are unaware of and that they can communicate at that level too


Lots of animals can do this and it is done by sensing infrasound (REALLY low sound waves that are generated prior to earthquakes from the plates sliding together and building up pressure)
Infrasound is also generated by elaphants and hippos,these animals use infrasound as a threat to other animals to stay out of their area (hippos especially use this ,as infrasound travels up to 50km under water in a river system)
As a rule it seems that infrasound meens danger to animals and they will do thir best to avoid it.
Fish,dogs,cats ect and of most important of all SNAKES can all sense infrasound (the chinese have done extensive research to try and us these animals abilitys to predict natural desasters)

if they can generate it is another matter,would be very interesting to see if other snakes will react to one anothers "singing"...that woukld be REALLY cool!!!

The tail wagging is a commen way for snakes (especially pyhtons/boas) to show that they are irretated/upset,my burms do it sometimes ,and it is really cute...like a big yellow puppy... :shock:

Will do some proper research on the infrasound.
Cheers
DAN
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Postby lee lee » Tue Jun 03, 2008 8:24 am

I still have some questions though. If the purpose of pythons shivering is thermoregulation then why don't they do it to keep themselves warm? If they did so would they then be ectothermic or endothermic?
If they only shiver to keep their eggs warm then why do they shiver when they have no eggs and their bodies are not even in incubation position?



hi guys, very interesting topic.
i hav not done extensive research into this topic so please dont hold me to this.... however i am a zoo keeper from nsw and did learn about shivering thermo regulations in pythons through my studies.

It is my beleif that all though it is called thermogensis the same as in endotherms raising there muscular (therefore body) temperature through shivering. it works differently in ectotherms......... its not the pythons muscles that are heating up directly from use, its the friction of the python against the eggs that causes the heat, thus heating both the python and the eggs. does this make sence... pls tell me if u agree/ disagree.

also it is my beleif that the python could keep itself warm like this, however they loose such a huge amount of there body weight through this process that it is not benificial for them to do it all the time.

hope this has been usefull
thanx lee lee[/quote]
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