Date of Award

5-1-2017

Document Type

Article

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

First Advisor

David Cundall

Abstract

Side dominance (handedness) exists in humans as well as many animals. In this study, the feeding behavior of constricting snakes was examined for side dominance at an individual level. Boas and pythons strike rapidly and coil to the left, right, or ventrally after they capture the prey. 26 snakes from 16 different species were investigated for the direction of head movement after striking a mouse. The location struck on the mouse (head, middle, rear) was also recorded. Mouse behavior was taken into account by recording the position of the mouse before the strike (facing towards, left, right, or away). Of the 26 snakes examined, only seven snakes had handedness preference that was statistically significant. Only four of those truly exhibited side dominance; the other three were significant for ventral head movement. 15 of the 26 snakes had significance in a correlation between the location struck on the mouse and the orientation of the mouse. This suggests that the mouse’s behavior could influence the snake’s striking behavior. Further research could investigate the relationship between the snake’s strike and the mouse behavior before the strike

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