This morning at Tohono Chul Park, some other docents and I watched a round-tailed ground squirrel attack, kill, and start to eat a longnose snake. All of us were flabbergasted; we think of these little rodents as extremely cute, harmless creatures whose only encounters with snakes occur when snakes go into their burrows and eat their young. It turns out the story is way more complicated, and as I found out while researching this, ground squirrels are well-known as eaters of carrion, birds, and snakes, even, apparently, rattlesnakes.
We did not see the beginning of the attack, but the snake was still moving when we began watching. After it was clearly dead, the squirrel began tearing through the snake's skin and biting off, then eating small pieces. After a while the squirrel began to drag the snake away, perhaps to pull into its burrow so the young squirrels might enjoy a treat? I like to imagine a future race of pumped up killer ground squirrels rampaging through the desert. The actual truth is perhaps not so far-fetched. Here is the sequence as I photographed it.
For more on longnose snakes, click here. Another story about round-tailed groundsquirrels can be found here.
And finally, I managed to upload my video of this event. (June 23, 2015).