Thursday, 2 April 2015

Cuddly sifakas fight off huge marauding snake

Presented by
Michael Marshall

Indiana Jones might have struggled to cope with snakes, but Coquerel's sifakas evidently know exactly what to do.

One of these Madagascan primates was attacked last year by a large snake called a Madagascar ground boa. But the other members of her troop attacked the snake, eventually hurting it so badly it died.

The snake attack was witnessed by four hotel workers in Madagascar on 24 March 2014. They subsequently described what happened to Charlie Gardner of the University of Kent in Canterbury, UK and his colleagues.

The Madagascar ground boa had lived in the area since 2004. It was a female nicknamed "Big George", and was about 2.7m long.

As the staff watched, Big George attacked a female Coquerel's sifaka, one of a group of eight. The snake quickly coiled itself around the sifaka.

At that point the other sifakas launched a counter-attack. They surrounded the snake and began darting in to bite and scratch it, as well as making lots of alarm calls.

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