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NEXT UP: 6th-seeded Lion-Tailed Macaque (Macaca silenus) vs. 11th-seeded Cat Snake (Telescopus fallax) #2019MMM
Though named for its lion-like, black-tufted tail, both male & female Lion-Tailed Macaques also boast a leonine silvery mane. Accordingly, this species is called "Bartaffe," which translates to "beard ape" (*not an ape), in German. #ServingLooks #TheRachel #2019MMM
One of the smaller macaque species, a large Lion-Tailed Macaque tips the scales at 10kg (about 45 stoats). Males are significantly bigger than females (Harvey et al 1991), with large canines they use to compete for mates. #2019MMM #StoatsAsMeasurement
Lion-Tailed Macaques are the only macaque species where males use calls to advertise & defend their territorial boundaries. #2019MMM
The European Cat Snake is part of the Colubridae family of snakes, which includes over 50% of living snake species. #2019MMM
Named for its cat-like vertical, elliptical pupils, the European Cat Snake is a venomous, "rear-fanged" (opisthoglyphous) species that may reach lengths of 3.5-4 ft (3-3.5 stoats). #2019MMM #StoatsAsMeasurement
Today's battle takes place in the only location where Lion-Tailed Macaques live, the Western Ghats Mountains of India. These tree-dwelling (arboreal) monkeys can be found at elevations up to 1500 meters. @IUCN map via @NEPrimateConsrv. #2019MMM
The altitude isn't a problem for the Cat Snake, which lives at elevations up to 2000 meters in its native Mediterranean & Caucasus habitats. These nocturnal snakes are good climbers too, but this one is spending the afternoon sleeping at the base of a tree. #CatSnakeNap #2019MMM
Lion-Tailed Macaques primarily eat fruits, & today a troop is spending the late afternoon foraging in an area dense with Jackfruit & Indian Bat Fig trees. #2019MMM
But even fruit-favoring monkeys like some variety in their diets, & as they forage a large adult male stumbles upon a very tasty-looking Indian Giant Squirrel in one of the trees. #omnomnomnivore #2019MMM
The macaque "hit[s] the squirrel on the head...and [carries] it off to a tree [by] the scruff of its neck..." (Sushma & Singh 2008) #2019MMM
"...[The squirrel is] still alive when the monkey start[s] to bite its head. In a few seconds, the squirrel [is] dead." (Sushma & Singh 2008) repository.ias.ac.in/51798/1/3-PUB.… #Carnage #DontTellRatatosk #2019MMM
The rest of the monkeys are enjoying the abundant fruit. Like the Bulldog Bat, macaques have cheek pouches they use to store extra food! (pictured: Crested Macaque) #SaveSomeForLater #ConvergentEvolution #2019MMM
When he finishes his #squirrelsnack, the large male begins foraging for fruit. He spots the sleeping cat snake &, thinking it an endemic Horseshoe Pit Viper, begins to alarm call. Other monkeys in the group, alerted to the potential threat, set up a racket! #2019MMM
The cat snake stays still on the ground. The monkeys, loath to leave a spot with varied & plentiful fruit, keep their eye on the snake. Such standoffs can last many minutes... #2019MMM
Why don't we go to the next battle... #StayTuned #2019MMM
The forest is still echoing with the alarm calls of the Lion-Tailed Macaques. Despite the noise, the snake has not moved. The large male macaque remains agitated, but does not approach the snek too closely for fear of getting bitten. #DangerNoodle #ColdHeartedSnake #2019MMM
Little does the macaque know, the "rear-fanged" cat snake seldom injects its (relatively mild) venom when it bites defensively. A bite would likely cause only minor pain & swelling for the monkey. #2019MMM
The macaques & the snake continue their stand-off... #2019MMM
Back in the Western Ghats forest, most members of the macaque troop have begun to lose interest in the cat snake. The sky is darkening, & the monkeys begin to move off into the forest to find a less disturbed sleeping site. #2019MMM
The large male macaque, however, maintains his vigil, intermittently vocalizing at the snake. #2019MMM
Finally, the cat snake rouses & begins to slither toward the macaque. #2019MMM
The snake's movement reenergizes the macaque's alarm calls. He tenses, preparing for fight or flight.... #2019MMM
The cat snake, however, turns & moves off in a new direction! With night falling, he is ready to hunt some of his preferred prey: lizards & geckos. #2019MMM
The macaque cautiously watches as the snake moves away in the forest understory. #2019MMM
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