Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

Woodpecker vs Snake

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Here is some remarkable footage from somewhere in the Amazon (Peru?) of a Crimson-crested Woodpecker, Campephilus melanoleucos, taking on a “Giant bird snake” or “puffing snake”, Pseustes sulphureus, that has raided its nest and swallowed its eggs.


  1. #1 Tabor
    December 12, 2009

    That woodpecker didn’t have a chance.

  2. #2 Woodpecker Fan
    December 12, 2009

    I was expecting a dramatic finish, like the wood pecker flies down from above with a katana and decapitates the snake. I was sorely disappointed. >:C

  3. #3 joshua
    December 12, 2009

    Everyone seems let down that the snake won. But to an insect, the woodpecker is a snake.

  4. #4 Leo
    December 12, 2009

    everyone is let down the snake one bc ppl fear snake and not woodpeckers. also, ppl fear insects more than woodpeckers as well.

  5. #5 Arthur
    December 12, 2009

    not everyone fears snakes, the reason you root for the woodpecker is because of the backstory, the woodpeckers eggs and nest being attacked by the snake. If it had been the otherway around people would want the snake to revenge the woodpecker.

  6. #6 Art
    December 12, 2009

    Hard, too early, to tell who won.

    Snakes are highly vulnerable to skin damage and puncture wounds and given a warm, moist germ laden environment, like the Amazon perhaps, it is entirely possible that snake may have enjoyed its last meal. Not all victories involve returning home with the head of an opponent and a parade. A quick jab followed by a slow infection and painful death a week later still counts.

    It is also possible that one or more eggs may have survived the snakes predation. How many eggs does that species of pecker usually lay? Getting pecked on seems to have distracted the snake. Distracted soon enough? Remains to be seen. Seems the snake got at least one.

    Of course if the snake was damaged enough to be debilitated, or die, losing a clutch of eggs might still be considered victory. Predator gone the pecker can lay more.

  7. #7 joshua
    December 12, 2009

    By the way, here’s a link to a higher resolution version of the video:

  8. #8 delphi4c
    December 12, 2009

    Saw this a month or so ago at cyberthrush’s site and was amazed at the woodpecker’s determination; I’ve seen other bird species (even bigger ones) cower at the presence of a snake at their nestsite.

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