PETER CHADWICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PETER CHADWICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Cape ground squirrel (Xerus inauris) in a confrontation with a cape cobra (Naja nivea). This rodent lives in arid areas where it digs an extensive burrow system. The burrow is occupied by a colony of 5-30 squirrels and is defended rigorously against potential intruders. Here the squirrel is attempting to drive the snake from its territory. Its fluffed-out tail is a protection against the venomous bite of the cobra, which contains a neurotoxin used to paralyse its prey. The snake is seen here in a characteristic threat posture, which warns that it is about to strike. Photographed in the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park, South Africa.
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