Questions for “Newfound technique allows some tree snakes to climb wide trees”

When a tree or pole is wide, brown tree snakes use their tails as a lasso to climb them.

Bjorn Lardner

To accompany “Newfound technique allows some tree snakes to climb wide trees


Before Reading:

1.  Without legs, how do snakes move?

2.  What are invasive species? Name three that are found in your country.

During Reading:

1.  What is the new trick by brown tree snakes that scientists observed, which allows the reptiles to ascend wide trees in Guam?

2.  What does it mean to say these snakes are “invasive” in Guam?

3.  Why does the snakes’ climbing of utility poles pose a problem in Guam?

4.  For the purposes of this story, what is a baffle? How did researchers encourage brown tree snakes to try and pass a baffle?

5.  How could the diameter of a tree make a difference in allowing snakes to shimmy up its trunk?

6.  How quickly did snakes move up a tree using the new technique? 

7.  How might understanding the snakes’ technique help engineers who build robots?

After Reading:

1.  Do some research on invasive species. Based on what you learned, why do you think Guam’s species suffer more from these snakes than do those in nations where the snakes are native?

2.  If you were building snake-like robots, how would you use the new climbing technique to achieve some useful function? Describe where and how it might be useful.