Online News: In 2016, herpetologists studying snakes in Thailand witnessed something they had never seen before. They came across a snake that had killed a large poisonous toad and were shocked by what happened next.
The snake, a small-banded coker (Oligodon fasciolatus), used a set of large, curved teeth at the back of its jaws to make an incision on the left side of the toad's abdomen. The snake's head swung from side to side as it made the cut, and then slowly sank completely into the toad's body, pulling out the amphibian's liver, heart, lungs, and stomach. The snake then eats the toad's limbs one by one, according to new research published this month in the journal Herpetozoa.
George Dvorsky reports for Gizmodo that most snakes swallow their prey whole, and no other snake feeds like the coker. Sometimes, particularly unlucky toads are still alive when these snakes evacuate them, Henrik Bringsøe, an amateur herpetologist from Denmark and first author of the new study, wrote in a statement.
Kukri snakes are usually less than three feet long and are named for a distinctive curved machete historically used by the Nepali-speaking Gurkha soldiers of Nepal and parts of India. Kukri blades are known as tools or weapons for their ability to make deep cuts, and new research suggests the snakes that bear the blade's name use their sharp, curved teeth to similar effects.