- Not Exactly Rocket Science
The tentacled snake turns a fish’s defence into a death march
Underwater, fish make very difficult prey. When they sense sudden disturbances in the water around them, they respond within five thousandths of a second with a defensive reflex called the C-start. Their body contorts into a C-shape and with a flick of the tail, they rapidly zoom away from the potential threat. But one predator has a way of turning the fish’s defence against it, persuading the fish to swim towards danger. It’s the tentacled snake.
The tentacled snake (Erpeton tentaculatum) is a bizarre species, easily recognised by the pair of short “tentacles” on the front of its head. The snake is a master fisherman and it hunts in the waterways of South-East Asia. It relies on ambush, anchoring its tail