‘Robosquirrel’ helps scientists understand rattlesnakes

When adult squirrels come face-to-face with a rattlesnake, they approach it head-first in an elongated posture, making flagging movements with their tails, but when squirrels want to fend of rattlesnakes, they heat their tales. Why do they do that?

Using robot squirrels, Aaron Rundus, assistant professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania, demonstrated for the first time that rattlesnakes respond to the heat signal from the squirrel. His team of researchers also noted that the reptile responds different to pups than to adult squirrels.

These robots will allow us to better understand rattlesnakes, an animal that can perceive infrared light. But, most importantly, the new technology will change how animal behaviour studies are conducted.

Source: University of California, Davis

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