A doctoral student at San Diego State University has discovered that rattlesnakes primarily use their eyes at night rather than their heat-sensing “pit organs,” the Times of San Diego reports.
SDSU announced Tuesday that researchers used a small strip of duct tape to blind some snakes and a small amount of beeswax on other snakes to block the heat-sensitive pit organ on their faces. A control group of snakes received neither blocking mechanism.
Doctoral student Hannes Schraft and SDSU biologist Rulon Clark released the snakes into a 10-meter-wide area and the snakes without blindfolds who had their pit organs blocked navigated easily, while the blindfolded snakes had a much harder time.
“When you cover a snake’s eyes, its movements immediately become a lot more erratic,” Schraft said.
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