Even Jackie Chan would be jealous of this kick.
A notable video has captured a kangaroo rat Yuma, Az. He jumped high in the air and kicked a rattlesnake in the face after the snake tried to attack the rat.
Timothy Higham, an adjunct professor in UC Riverside's Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organ Biology, has published two papers here and here describing the incredible sportiness and behavior of both species, both referred to as "extreme athletes".
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"Both rattlesnakes and kangaroo rats are extreme athletes whose maximum performance occurs during these interactions," Higham said in a statement. "This makes the system a great way to bring out the factors that could set the balance in this arms race."
"We found that Kangaroo rats, who had fled snake attacks, relied on fast reaction times to initiate effective evasive maneuvers," a study summary said. "During jumps, their increased hind legs drove vertical jumps of several body lengths into the air, and these jumps were often accompanied by footsteps in the air and other maneuvers that deterred snakes."
For kangaroo rats that generally eat seeds, these attacks are commonplace, but finding the encounters by the researchers has shown that they are both alike and, for the first time, show the defenses used by the kangaroo rats.
"These lightning-fast and powerful maneuvers, especially when executed in nature, tell us about the effective strategies to escape powerful predators," continued Higham. "Those who managed to escape the strike, will suggest ways in which the kangaroo rat may evolve in response to the intricacies of predatory movements. "
The" lightning fast "description provided by Higham may be considered exaggerated by some, but it is accurate, the researchers found that the snakes on average reached their prey in less than 100 milliseconds, but the rats were much faster, responding in just 38 milliseconds and jumping off the snakes in 70 milliseconds, according to the researchers.
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A typical lightning bolt moves in he speed of 224,000 miles per second. The average eye lash of a human eye is said to be between 300 and 400 milliseconds and only 150 milliseconds.
Although the kangaroo rats are amazingly fast, some of them did not respond quickly enough to avoid the strikes, added Rulon Clark, an associate professor of biology at San Diego State University and co-author of both research , 19659005] But they had another trick to avoid the danger: "They could often avoid getting angry by reorienting themselves in the air and using their massive buttocks and feet to ninja-style snakes throw away, "Clark said.
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Nature is truly amazing.