Our knowledge of the biology of neonatal snakes has lagged behind that of adult animals, mostly due to the difficulty of finding and studying neonatal snakes in the wild. Traditional approaches view neonatal reptiles as miniature replicates of their adult counterparts. In this contribution, we present data on the natural history of neonatal Green Anacondas from opportunistic captures in the wild over a 17-year period, as well as from a brief study on captive-born radio-tagged individuals. Both approaches converge in presenting a picture of the ecology of neonatal anacondas showing many similarities between their natural history and that of adult anacondas in spite of the great size difference. The neonates' biology resembles that of adults, especially males, in their preference for birds in their diet, the relative prey size they choose, slow growth rates they experience, low feeding frequency, little mobility, and preference for similar habitats of stagnant, shallow water covered by aquatic vegetation. The conventional wisdom that neonatal reptiles are replicates of their adult counterparts seems to be largely on target in Green Anacondas.
Natural History of Neonatal Green Anacondas (Eunectes murinus): A Chip Off the Old Block
Jesús A. Rivas, Cesar R. Molina, Sarah J. Corey, G. M. Burghardt; Natural History of Neonatal Green Anacondas (Eunectes murinus): A Chip Off the Old Block. Copeia 1 July 2016; 104 (2): 402–410. doi: https://doi.org/10.1643/CE-15-238
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