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Zoology

Eastern Illinois University

Agkistrodon piscivorus

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The Hold-Release Mechanism In The Family Crotalidae, Ronald K. Easter Jan 1986

The Hold-Release Mechanism In The Family Crotalidae, Ronald K. Easter

Masters Theses

Strike/release vs. strike/hold feeding behavior was observed for 5 Crotalus atrox and 5 Agkistrodon piscivorous. Two sizes of warm blooded prey were offered to the rattlesnakes on alternate weeks. Cottonmouths were offered, alternately, fish or mice of equal size. Although data varied among individual subjects, cottonmouths offered fish demonstrated the strike/hold behavior significantly more often than the strike/release behavior; cottonmouths offered mice struck and released significantly more often than they struck and held. It is concluded that the strike/hold strategy in sreponse to fish is adventageous because the danger of holding such prey is minimal ...