Animals Video

By Randal Coombs


Slow Motion Footage Shows Feisty Ninja Rat Skilfully Avoiding Snake Attacks

A research paper called ninjarat.org spent three months following kangaroo rats through the Sonoran Desert outside Yuma, Arizona, to capture the incredible videos.

The lightning fast rodent has to have incredible reflexes as it dodges the onslaughts of potentially poisonous bites and was filmed at 500 frames per second to be able to view it all.

Leaping into the air, the kangaroo rat barely avoids the mouth and teeth of the species sidewinder rattlesnakes

Grace Freymiller, who was part of the research, said: “The goal of this research was to get a better understanding of what is going on during these rapid interactions between an ambush hunting predator and a highly evasive prey.

“We were really curious about what was going on, so we wanted to film at a higher.

“It was only with the 500 fps recordings that we were able to see that the kangaroo rats are capable of these amazing kicks which seem to improve their chances of surviving an attack even if they get bit.

“A single, explosive strike from the predator and a rapid evasive manoeuvre by the prey are pretty typical of what you would expect to see in a system with an ambush predator like a rattlesnake.”

The videos were filmed between May and August in 2016 but have only just been released as part of the research.

Grace worked alongside Malachi Whitford, Rulon Clark, and Tim Higham on the study which is in conjunction with Chiricahua Desert Museum.