An interesting fight between a San Francisco Mountain Wood Rat and an Arizona Gopher Snake was witnessed by the author on July 28 of this year.
The rat, a rather large specimen, was introduced into a cage containing the snake. For a few moments both eyed each other without any movement whatsoever. Then the rat started on a tour of inspection, his route taking him close to the coiled reptile. With a loud hiss, the snake struck and missed. With an audible gritting of teeth, the rat retaliated by slashing his adversary on the head and neck. Instantly the snake recoiled into a corner where he rubbed his wound again - at the side of the cage. Then he slowly drew himself into a compact mass, his eyes malignantly regarding his enemy who had retired to the far side.
The action which followed was swift and deadly. In a second the cage was transformed into a battlefield upon which rolled a squealing, writhing mass of scales and fur. The outcome was not long in doubt as tightly drawn coils began relentlessly crushing the life from the rat. Ten minutes later all was silence again. The rat lay stretched out upon the floor of the cage - dead. His conqueror was coiled up in a corner nearby, still angry but triumphant.
Although large enough to swallow the rat, the snake absolutely refused to utilize his victim for food.
- R. Grater -
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