Wriggling Woma Python Tails

Discussion in 'General Reptile Discussion' started by Nero Egernia, Apr 13, 2019.

  1. Nero Egernia

    Nero Egernia Subscriber Subscriber

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    Hey everyone.

    A slightly random question here. While I find it somewhat adorable, does anyone know why woma pythons wriggle their tails? Is there any reason at all? I don't think I've ever seen my carpet pythons behave in such a manner. I know some snakes may wriggle their tail as a lure to attract their prey, but the womas just seem to do it anytime, especially when someone or something touches them. Do other species wriggle their tail in a similar fashion?
     
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  2. richyboa72

    richyboa72 Well-Known Member

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    I know tree boas due it as a cordial lure
    (Sorry if spelt wrong)


    Sent from my iPod touch using Tapatalk
     
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  3. GBWhite

    GBWhite Well-Known Member

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    They do it to distract the attention of cautious prey and then once the prey gets inquisitive they continue to do it to lure the prey within striking distance.

    It's called caudal luring and a number of species of snakes use it effectively. Black Headed Pythons, Green Tree Pythons, Death Adders are a couple of Aussie snakes that use the method often. From memory I think the American Copperhead is another.
     
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  4. Sdaji

    Sdaji Almost Legendary

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    I don't believe they do it to lure prey like many other species of snakes do. I believe it is a decoy behaviour, not to attract potential feed towards them, but if something is near them, to distract attention away from the head and towards the less critical tail.

    All species which lure for prey sit very still and move their tails in a way which mimics a worm or insect (or spider in one spectacular example). They typically do it with the tail being wriggled in a position where the snake can easily strike at it. Womas on the other hand do it in response to movement, often huff and puff and bounce up and down at the same time (very funny to watch!) and wriggle their tails while their bodies are stretched out (you'll never see this in luring species). Womas will do it while excited, I've seen them do it while people have been handling them (again, this makes sense as a decoy but I've never seen a snake of any species lure for prey during active handling by a human). The movement of a Woma tail is wagging side to side, somewhat like an excited dog, quite unlike any species of prey-luring species of snake.

    I'm not clever enough with computers to post videos, otherwise I'd put up some example videos I've made of various species. Whether it's an elapid, a python, a viper, the prey luring is very similar even though they are all completely unrelated, yet different from what a woma does, despite womas being reasonably closely related to species which do lure for prey (I've seen several species of pythons do it including Chondros, Waters, Carpets and Olives). I've seen Carpets lure for feed in the typical way, similar to Chondros etc, but I've also seen Carpets wag their tails like Womas, but only when scared and attempting to flee a perceived threat.
     
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  5. Blighty

    Blighty Not so new Member

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    I agree, the spider-like lure is fascinating to watch.
     
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  6. GBWhite

    GBWhite Well-Known Member

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  7. Bl69aze

    Bl69aze Very Well-Known Member

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  8. Nero Egernia

    Nero Egernia Subscriber Subscriber

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    Thanks for the replies everyone. I don't think in this particular case, at least, it was caudal luring. These womas I'm currently caring for are in full winter mode and haven't shown any interest in eating for quite some time. Their tails were wagging from side to side like a dog, as Sdaji mentions. Not long after that there appeared to be what I believe courtship behaviour, which was pretty cool to witness. Womas sure have interesting characters.
     
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  9. Sdaji

    Sdaji Almost Legendary

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    Courtship behaviour is another reason snakes will wriggle their tails. I've seen females of many species do it either to entice the male or to let them know where the area of business is.

    The video GBWhite posted actually did look a bit like it might have been luring for prey. I've seen Womas wag their tails thousands of times but I've never seen it look that much like luring. That was a very short video though so it's hard to say.

    Oh, and nice Carpet luring video, Blaze :) You don't often see videos of Carpets doing it. Most of the Carpets I've kept have never lured and I've mostly seen it in juveniles. I still remember the first time I saw it, it totally amazed me at the time, it was a juvenile I'd spend months trying to get to eat and there it was luring for a feed! Stupid bloody thing! Haha.
     
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  10. SKYWLKR

    SKYWLKR Active Member

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    Its because they get excited when being fed. Check out my previous posts about the subject.
     
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