Register for an account


Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.


Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.


Friday Flashback: A scientific use for... used tampons?!?

Seriously, Science?By Seriously ScienceNovember 15, 2013 6:00 PM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Photo: flickr/jurvetsonThis has got to be one of the most gnarly Materials and Methods sections ever published. In this study, the scientists were investigating whether brown tree snakes would strike at objects soaked in human blood. A reasonable question, really. But where to get such targets? Why, used tampons, of course!

Response of brown tree snakes (Boiga irregularis) to human blood.

“Ten specimens of Boiga irregularis were presented with clean or bloody tampons. The latter were used by women during menses. Trial duration was 60 sec, intertrial interval was 24 hr, and the dependent variable was rate of tongue flicking (a measure of chemosensory investigation). Bloody tampons elicited significantly more tongue flicking than did control tampons. An additional snake is shown attacking and ingesting a soiled tampon, confirming that chemosensory interest was associated with predatory behavior.” Bonus figure legend from the main text of the paper (we decided to spare you the actual figure): “FIG. 1. (A) A brown tree snake investigates a soiled tampon suspended into its cage. (B) Seconds later the snake bites the tampon. (C) About 2 min following the bite, the snake is shown with only the string remaining unswallowed. This snake then struck andswallowed a second soiled tampon.”


Related content: Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: Cooperation and individuality among man-eating lions. Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: Friday the 13th special: Blood and tissue spatter associated with chainsaw dismemberment. Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: fun with animals.

    3 Free Articles Left

    Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.


    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

    Want unlimited access?

    Subscribe today and save 50%


    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In