Proceedings of the Japan Society of Tropical Medicine
Online ISSN : 2186-1773
ISSN-L : 2186-1773
On the preference of prey in “Habu” in experimental feeding
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1966 Volume 7 Issue 2 Pages 8-17


1) The present author (1966) reported 43 species of Vertebrata belonging to 38 genera and 27 families as natural food of Trimeresurus f. flavoviridis (Hallowell, 1860). The present paper deals with the comparison of acceptance of preys in experimental feeding.
2) The rates of acceptance of Mus musculus, Rattus rattus, and R. norvegicus were 78.2, 72.4 and 56.6 % respectively mainly captured by adult and subadult snakes. The young took only suckling mice. Captive rate of chicken was 60 %caught by adults and subadults but eggs of hen and Coturnix coturnix were never taken.
3) The rates of Reptilia, Gehyra mutilata, Eumeces marginatus and Japalura polygonata were 77.8, 75.0 and 61.3 % respectively mainly taken by young and subadults. The snakes were accepted 9.5 % by adults and subadults. Amhibia, Triturus pyrrhogaster, Rana limnocharis and Rhacophorus japonicus were taken by mainly young and subadults.
4) Fish, Carassinus auratus and Aplochula latipes, and 12 species in Mollusca, Arthropoda and Annelida were not accepted.
5) Differing from warm-blooded animals, snakes were not promptly killed by the bite of “Habu”.
6) As snakes remarkablly refused intake in the captive state, the rates of acceptance presented above may be fur less than in natural environment. In the state of starvation, an adult was reared for 416 days and a snake for 569 days from hatching.
7) Adults especially prefered rats and chicken and the young took Reptilia and Amphibia in the present experiment in close coincidence with natural feeding habit. The preference of prey was not only caused by the kind of preys but also by the comparative size of prey to the snake as the young could not take large size of prey.
8) Trimeresurus usually prefered living Vertebrata and ingested the prey from its head. The dead prey stroken by the one snake were not used to be ingested by the others. In the snake whose poison had been squeezed and also when the snake took a cold-blooded animal, it ingested preys always holding prey in mouth from the initial bite differing from the usual striking of the living warm-blooded animals.

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