Thursday, July 11, 2013

Bummer: Slight warming might make snakes more active or less active, and that might be bad

Mizzou biologist: How climate change is leading to increase in bug population |
COLUMBIA, Mo. (KSDK) - The Acadian flycatcher, a wild bird native to Missouri, is being threatened by changing weather patterns, causing bug populations to rise, according to University of Missouri biologist John Faaborg.

Although warmer weather trends in recent years have resulted in lower survival rates for bug-eating birds and higher bug populations, neither are directly related to the higher temperatures. The reason for these changes has been an increase in snake activity.

Snakes, as cold-blooded animals, are naturally more active in the heat. Typically, the birds would stay in the forests of Missouri where the weather is cooler, but with rising temperatures, even the forests have been hot, causing snakes to be more active there as well.
January 2013: University of Illinois researchers study fate of snakes in a warming climate
When daytime temperatures in Texas get too hot for foraging, the researchers found, ratsnakes there wait until the cool of the night to go looking for food. Weatherhead expects that ratsnakes in Illinois will follow suit, although the ones in his study were still active strictly during the day. (He notes that there is already other anecdotal evidence of snakes raiding bird’s nests at night in Illinois.)

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