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Pasha 75: Facebook helped us to learn what snakes eat. Why this is important

Snakes eat a great diversity of prey but the details of each species’ diet have long been a bit of a mystery. That’s because it’s difficult to observe their infrequent and unpredictable feeding behaviour. But it’s important to understand their diet because of its impact on ecological systems and its role in venom biochemistry. Snake bites account for many deaths on the African continent. Two researchers used a novel way to gather information about the reptiles’ diets and feeding behaviour.

In this episode of Pasha, Bryan Maritz, a senior lecturer in biodiversity and conservation biology at the University of the Western Cape, discusses how he and Robin Maritz, a research fellow in the same department, used a Facebook group to learn more about what snakes eat.

Read more: How we tracked the eating habits of snakes in Africa with the help of a Facebook group

Photo: “Snake eating a frog” By Theo Busschau Facebook

Music “Happy African Village” by John Bartmann, found on licensed under CC0 1.

“Music Box & Sunshine” by Daniel Birch found on Free Music Archive licensed under Attribution-NonCommercial License.

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