Puke, Poop and DORs: Utilizing the Underappreciated Parts to Study the Ecology of Snakes

Ray, J. M.

For over 16 years I have studied the ecology of snakes both in the temperate and tropical regions of the New World, in part by utilizing regurgitations, fecal material and snakes found dead on the road. Much can be learned from these deemed “gross” portions of an already relatively disliked organism. Through these methods I have documented the change in diet in a federally threatened snake (Nerodia sipedon insularum) and aided in the delisting of the subspecies. I also discovered a new main dietary source for the Neotropical snailsucker snakes (genera Dipsas and Sibon.) Moreover, I have collected nearly 1000 specimens of Neotropical species of snakes to publish a variety of natural history notes, in addition to several other exciting discoveries, including a new species. Utilizing the portions of snakes that are left behind allows for much to be learned about these elusive organisms that still drastically remain understudied.


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