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Posted by chrish on March 26, 2003 at 01:04:35:
In Reply to: But follow my thinking.... posted by Jeff Schofield on March 25, 2003 at 18:04:46:
":The largest "modern" snakes, in terms of evolutionary biology...are ALL snake eaters."
I don't know what the list of largest colubrids would be, but certainly you would have to include (just a few that exceed 8feet, off the top of my head)
Ptyas - 10ft+ - Eat anything that comes in front of them.
Elaphe taeniura - 9ft+ - rodent and bird eaters
Cribos/indigos - 8ft+ - generalists that will eat almost anything
Pituophis sp. - 8ft+ rodent eaters
Elaphe obsoleta - 8ft - rodents and birds
Elaphe quatuorlineata - 8ft - rodents
Coluber jugulars - to nearly 10ft - mainly small mammals
Masticophis mentovarius - up to 8ft - anything it catches
Masticophis flagellum - up to 8ft - anything it catches
Pseudaspis cana - 8ft - rodents
Boiga sp. - some big boiga can exceed 8ft - birds and mammals, mostly
Clelia clelia - 8ft (I think)- finally a confirmed snake eater!
Just a few examples off the top of my head of some of the largest colubrids. I only see a single snake specialist on that list (the Mussurana). Indigos will eat snakes, but they will eat anything. I don't consider them snake specialists.
It is true that some of the larger elapids are snake eaters, but so are many of the smaller elapids. In this case, it could be that elapids are snake eaters in general and some just get big.
Note that the few pythons that are snake eaters (Aspidites) are relatively small species.