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I understand that pythons are considered ambush predators, and I was under the impression that they tend to employ the sit-and-wait strategy: quietly staying in a coiled position near a trail frequented by prey animals, and striking when a prey passes by. However, this is in contrast to the stalk-and-strike strategy I encountered in every video I could find of snakes hunting prey in the wild.

In this video compilation of pythons hunting prey (warning: it's graphic), in every instance shown, the snake can be seen closely approaching the prey, the prey appearing to not notice the snake, and striking when the snake's head is within a few cm/inches of the prey animal.

This seeming appearing-to-not-notice-a-large-snake-nearby behavior can be seen in different animal species:

Similarly, the-fail-to-notice can be seen another video and here too.

Question: Is the stalk-and-strike strategy the more common hunting strategy that snakes tend to employ? Do the prey really fail to notice a looming large snake? Or do they "play pretend to not see it" as a some sort of adaptive strategy?

My sample of videos could also be biased, but it seems that the sit-and-strike strategy would be more easier to film and thus should be more easy to find in popular video sharing sites. No?

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  • $\begingroup$ It looks like being close to the ground and having certain patterns send little information to prey about their motion or they blend into the environment. They tend to be silent also. academic.oup.com/beheco/article/24/5/1237/256081 $\endgroup$
    – ermanen
    Nov 29, 2021 at 1:47

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