Newsweek turned to University of Cincinnati biologist Bruce Jayne for a Halloween feature about a ghastly creature that rips its prey apart alive.
Jayne first described the unique hunting methods of Asia’s cat-eyed water snakes, which look for molting soft-shelled crabs it can rip and devour in pieces.
“Like a high-end chef choosing the finest meat, these snakes will only attack prey when they are ripe for the picking, around 10 to 15 minutes after the animals have molted their shells,” Newsweek wrote.
“The Halloween-like surprise is the snake’s ho-hum appearance and yet savage behavior!” Jayne told Newsweek.
Jayne used infrared cameras to capture the behavior unsettlingly up close. Like the first victims in a slasher movie, the crabs stand no chance.
“Just as you can’t judge a book by its cover, you would never guess that this little snake with such a mundane appearance was such a ferocious and accomplished predator,” Jayne told Newsweek.
Featured image at top: UC professor Bruce Jayne holds a brown tree snake. Photo/Joseph Fuqua II/UC Creative + Brand