Just in case you needed a little nightmare fuel.
Depending on how you feel about snakes, this is either going to really fascinate you or freak you out.
Brown snakes, an invasive species that is now prolific in Guam, have been terrorizing birds for years. Since their accidental introduction to Guam in the 1950s, the population of birds has been on a steady decline. In fact, certain avian species have disappeared entirely.
Colorado State University (CSU) researchers were examining the use of baffles (often a long deterrent, sometimes in a shape of a stovepipe, a cone, and more) to protect the nests of Micronesia starlings on Guam when they noticed snakes hitching their way up trees in a unique way.
Brown snakes can climb trees like a lasso. Now, it's not unheard of snakes to slither their ways to heights, but what has been coined as "lasso locomotion," has not been documented prior.
Previously only four types of movement had been attributed to snakes: rectilinear, lateral undulation, sidewinding, and concertina.
It was found that some brown snakes can basically scale a tree in no time by wrapping themselves around a tree or pole and then climb upwards as it bends.
"We didn't expect that the brown tree snake would be able to find a way around the baffle," CSU's Tom Seibert, co-author and emeritus faculty said in a statement. "Initially, the baffle did work, for the most part. We had watched about four hours of video and then all of a sudden, we saw this snake form what looked like a lasso around the cylinder and wiggle its body up."
It's really something you have to see to believe. Check out this video from CSU (posted by the University of Cincinnati):
According to the University of Cincinnati's Bruce Jayne, an expert on different aspects of locomotion and muscle function, especially in snakes, brown snakes are already champion climbers, but this is something brand new. It appears this locomotion is tough on the snakes, as they have to take frequent breaks while lassoing up a pole. But the finding is exciting.
"I've been working on snake locomotion for 40 years and here, we've found a completely new way of moving," he said in a statement. "Odds are, there is more out there to discover."
By understanding this new method of locomotion, researchers hope it can help them design ways to protect birds, etc. (Brown snakes are also notorious power pole climbers, causing outages and more).
"We can now potentially design baffles that the snakes can't defeat," CSU Emeritus Professor Julie Savidge said in a statement. However, "it's still a pretty complex problem."
Which camp are you: fascination or freak out? Let us know in the comments.