The coral snake was trying to eat the rat snake when a wasp decided to disrupt it.
Evangeline Cummings, assistant provost and director of University of Florida Online recorded a very peculiar interaction between an eastern coral snake (Micrurus fulvius), a dead rat snake (Elaphe sp.), and a yellowjacket wasp. Cummings who was in a backyard, watched and recorded on video the incident, which involved the coral snake, while hanging precariously on a tree limb, trying to eat the dead snake. As the coral snake started to eat the dead snake, the wasp landed on it, and a few moments later, based upon the coral snake’s movements, stung the snake, which caused it to stop trying to eat the dead snake.
Um ok, @UFEntomology and @MartaWayneUF , I believe I just witnessed a BEE 🐝 stinging a CORAL SNAKE 🐍 while the CORAL was dining on a RAT (?) SNAKE 🐍 and I need your support to process this. @UF #FloridaBackyard pic.twitter.com/djbJJGxaUk
— Evangeline Cummings (@EvieCummings23) October 17, 2019
“Um ok, @UFEntomology and @MartaWayneUF , I believe I just witnessed a BEE stinging a CORAL SNAKE while the CORAL was dining on a RAT (?) SNAKE and I need your support to process this. @UF #FloridaBackyard,” Cummings wrote on Twitter.
Twitter user Emily Taylor recommended Cummings talk to a grad student who attends her university for more information.
Provost Cummings, you should talk to @heart2herp, who is a grad student at your univ, she can tell you all about those snakes! The coral would have no trouble climbing that plant. And the wasp most certainly stung it, based on its reactions!
— Emily Taylor (@snakeymama) October 18, 2019
The interaction Cummings captured is super interesting, showing the opportunistic tendencies of this particular coral snake.
There are three coral snake species in the United States; the Eastern coral snake (Micrurus fulvius); the Texas coral snake (M. tener); and the Sonoran coral snake (Micruroides euryxanthus).