This snake picked the wrong rat to mess with.
A trending video originally posted on Facebook by Rojas Montecinos Evy shows a snake making off with a baby rat in its mouth. Just when it seems like all hope is lost for the helpless pup, an even bigger rat — likely the pup’s mother — comes to the rescue.
The mother can be seen viciously attacking the snake, which still holds the baby in its mouth. After an epic battle ensues between rodent and serpent, the snake finally drops the baby as the mother rat chases it away into the grass.
The pup lies lifelessly on the road for a moment, and then it twitches and begins to walk, apparently unharmed. The mother returns, gently picking up the baby in her mouth and leaving the scene of the attack.
Mother rats, and most other rodent mothers, display many maternal behaviors that serve to ensure the wellbeing of their babies. Most mothers will build nests, retrieve their pups if they wander away from the nest, provide them with food, and keep them warm and clean.
Rodent mothers also have an innate drive to fight to physically protect the pups, particularly when the babies are still lactating. This is fuelled in part by changes in the mother’s brain, including a spike in the hormone oxytocin, that occur after giving birth.
Oxytocin facilitates mother-infant bonding, but simultaneously increases mother rodents’ propensity for aggression. Importantly, this heightened maternal aggression is not directed toward their own offspring, but rather toward external threats, like the snake seen in the video.
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