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Eat a Killer: Snake dines safely with strategic delays

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10:54am, October 10, 2007

An Australian snake feeds on dangerous frogs by striking them with venom and then backing off long enough for the frogs' defense chemicals to degrade, say researchers.

The floodplain death adder (Acanthophis praelongus) even has different waiting times for each of two frog species, report Ben Phillips and Richard Shine of the University of Sydney. For the less dangerous frog, which exudes a nontoxic but entrapping goo, the snake waits about 10 minutes. For the frog carrying a lethal dose of toxin, the snake waits 42 minutes as the toxin loses its power.

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