Epic Duel: ‘Ninja’ Kangaroo Rat Delivers Swift Kick to Venomous Rattlesnake’s Head – Watch the Battle Unfold

Kung-fu kangaroo! Two-year study of ‘defenceless’ desert rats reveals how they regularly foil snakes with super-fast leaps and mid-air ninja-style kicks

Incredible footage reveals the moment a daring kangaroo rat escaped certain death in the jaws of a rattlesnake.

Remarkable aerial acrobatics saw the rodent escape the predator by using its powerful hind legs to kung fu kick it away.

Researchers set up a YouTube page showcasing the remarkable escapes orchestrated by the rats to emerge unscathed from various perilous situations.

They managed to film the fleeting interaction which happened in less than the blink of an eye.

Remarkable aerial acrobatics saw the rodent escape the predator by using its powerful hind legs to kick it away (pictured)

Scientists had long been puzzled by how the rats defended themselves as they had been unable to film them due to their rapid movements in the dark.

But the latest stunning footage reveals the seemingly defenceless rats have a kick that can send the snakes flying.

One video uploaded to the YouTube page shows a kangaroo rat successfully kicking a snake – which is then sent flying through the air and crashing feet away.

The footage published to the channel were also used as evidence in two studies published in Functional Ecology and the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society.

The kicks solved a mystery that puzzled the team for years. They had even tested the blood for resistance to the snake venom.

Named after their long hind feet, the rats were shown to evade danger with impressive jumps and mid-air twists.

Researchers from University of California Riverside (UCR), San Diego State University, and UC Davis teamed for the project using the latest high-speed cameras.

After setting up a series of night-vision cameras in the desert, they discovered the rodents were fighting with their adversaries.

PhD candidate Malachi Whitford, of San Diego State University, said that previous cameras were insufficient to pick up rat jumps.

He said: ‘Our previous work used lower-speed cameras, and although it seemed as though snakes had successfully struck their prey, the movements of the animals at the moment of impact was too blurry to see details.’

Scientists had long been puzzled by how the rats defended themselves as they had been unable to film them due to their rapid movements in the dark. But the latest stunning footage reveals the seemingly defenceless rats have a kick that can send the snakes flying

Kangaroo rats’ highly sensitive hearing allows them to hear low-frequency sounds and detect sudden surprise attacks, necessary for avoiding predators. They also have enlarged hindlimb muscles and thick tendons, allowing for the rapid vertical leaps and high accelerations

Kangaroo rats’ highly sensitive hearing allows them to hear low-frequency sounds and detect sudden surprise attacks, necessary for avoiding predators.

They also have enlarged hindlimb muscles and thick tendons, allowing for the rapid vertical leaps and high accelerations.

Kangaroo rats are faster than the snakes and have a typical reaction time of around 70 milliseconds, with some recording times of just 38 milliseconds.

Associate Professor Timothy Higham, of UCR, said: ‘Both rattlesnakes and kangaroo rats are extreme athletes, with their maximum performance occurring during these interactions.

Sia

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