U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version



Vol. 51 No. 4/Vol. 52 No. 1


Fall/Winter 2018


Snakes have been targeted as a presumed enemy for non-predatory, agonistic attacks by individuals from many species, including other reptiles (e.g., Engeman et at. 2009, Kaiser et. at. 2013). Mobbing is an attack involving multiple individuals that has been observed against many species of vertebrate predators (e.g., Altmann 1956, Owings and Coss 1977), and snakes especially appear to be recipients of mobbing behavior (e.g., Owings and Coss 1977). Probably more than any other taxa, birds have been documented to mob snakes (e.g., Guthrie 1932, Curio et at. 1978), with mobbing attacks sometimes simultaneously involving multiple bird species (e.g., Sieving et at. 2004, Suzuki 2016). Mobbing is a defensive behavior serving purposes such as deterring predation, alerting others to a potential predator, defending nests or young, and conveying enemy recognition to others (e.g., Curio et at. 1976).

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