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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