The effects of Ecdysis on feeding frequency and behavior of the common garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis)
Turmo, James Robert
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Garter snakes were used to study changes in feeding frequency and behavior associated with ecdysis. Feeding and shedding records of a captive snake colony were combined to test for correlations between feeding frequency and shedding. Snakes ate significantly less frequently before shedding than after shedding. Likelihood of eating was lowest when snakes were in the blue-eyed state. Four behaviors; latency to move, strikes at a stationary stimulus, strikes at a moving stimulus, and response distance to an approaching threat were scored while snakes were in the blue-eyed and clear-eyed state. Latency to move, strikes at a moving stimulus, and response distance were significantly affected by the shedding state of the snake. Changes in feeding frequency and behavior associated with shedding may function to reduce the risk of predation during a period of increased vulnerability.