In the animal kingdom, it is all about the survival of the fittest and if a recent viral video is to be trusted, then a few Kung-Fu moves might be handy. In the video that shows an epic battle between a rattlesnake and a kangaroo rat, it is the underdog that emerges victorious over the venomous reptile by kicking hard right at its face! And quite unsurprisingly the video of the fight is blowing people’s mind online.
Captured in the dark desert outside Yuma, Arizona, the kangaroo rat is seen looking through the sand for a midnight snack, while a hungry snake slyly waits for its prey to take just one more step near it to launch its attack. Within seconds, the reptile plunges in full force, aiming the neck of the rodent — and it seems the game is pretty much over for the petite animal. But like an action-packed Hollywood film, the ‘Ninja’ rat not only leaps and secures itself from the clutches of the snake but also kicks the snake in the head and bounces frantically away.
Watch the video here:
Duels such as this are common occurring in Arizona desert areas, however, the quick action is over in a blink of an eye. So, researchers affiliated with the Laboratory for Animal Behavior Research at San Diego State University, the Higham Biomechanics Laboratory at UC Riverside, and the Chiricahua Desert Museum set up high-speed recording cameras with night vision to witness all the action. And certainly, they were not disappointed.
“The animals are free-ranging in their natural desert habitat at night, and filmed with high-speed cameras using near-IR lights invisible to both species. The video is recorded at 500 frames per second, and playback is slowed down about 30 times,” the researchers explained how the video was made.
Explaining how the rats managed to survive the fatal attack, they added that the kangaroo rats could react to incoming snake strikes in few milliseconds, and are capable of pulling off complex midair manoeuvres. “Kangaroo rats that responded quickly were frequently able to jump clear of the snake completely, leaving the serpent biting nothing but dust as the kangaroo rat rocketed seven to eight body lengths into the air,” said Rulon Clark, an associate professor of biology at San Diego State University.
“But in perhaps the most surprising finding of our research, kangaroo rats that did not react quickly enough to avoid the strike had another trick up their sleeves: They often were able to avoid being envenomated by reorienting themselves in mid-air and using their massive haunches and feet to kick the snakes away, ninja-style,” Clark added.
After successfully dodging a rattlesnake’s fangs, the rodents used their tails to reorient, land on their feet and retreat.
The group of researchers released other videos of the impressive Ninja-rats and now even the Internet can’t have enough of it.