Thursday, October 13, 2011

Time Series: Chelydra serpentina

Or: four guys drank Lake Superior Ale on a lonely shore miles from nowhere and watched a dinosaur dismantle a smallmouth bass.

After the initial ripping of the head and gill plate area (the kill), the snapper became very methodical about this undertaking:

(1) Thrust head forward to grasp carcass;
(2) Use front legs to push away while pulling with head to rip chunk off;
(3) Back up, swallow chunk hole;
(4) Extend snorkel-nostrils just above water surface; exhale; inhale;
(5) Submerge head;
(6) Advance and go back to step #1.

Common snappers are noted for their belligerent disposition when out of the water, their powerful beak-like jaws, and their highly mobile head and neck (hence the specific name "serpentina", meaning "snake-like").

The snapper is an aquatic ambush hunter, capturing its prey with its beak-like jaws.