The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.
The 2017/18 impact factor of The Herpetological Journal is 1.268
Authors: Gabriela M. Jofré & Christopher J. Reading
Abstract: Cannibalism is a widespread behavioural trait in nature and snakes are no exception. In smooth snakes (Coronella austriaca) it has only been visibly observed in captive individuals or known from faecal/stomach content analyses. Between 2009 and 2018 one incidence of cannibalism, determined from a faecal sample, and one sighting, were recorded in wild smooth snakes in Wareham Forest plantations, UK. Analysis of faecal samples and visual encounter surveys were used to estimate its frequency. Both records occurred in early autumn and our results suggest that its incidence in wild smooth snakes in southern England is low (0.1-0.3 %) and may be the result of low body condition. The circumstances resulting in cannibalism in the smooth snake may also be relevant to other animal species where cannibalism has been reported.
Keywords: body condition, carrion cannibalism, intraspecific predation, maternal predation, ophiophagy, predatory cannibalism