It’s mating season for rattlesnakes. And this video of two males battling to the death proves just how seriously the serpents take the event.
An employee with the Georgia Depart of Natural Resources was working in the field recently when they spotted the snakes dueling on a trail. They managed to catch the encounter on camera and post it on the agency’s Facebook page.
“Why did the snake cross the trail? To ssssee his lady friend of course,” the DNR captioned. “A wildlife technician was checking hunter access trails for obstructions on Lanahassee WMA when he happened upon these two timber rattlesnakes fighting over who deserves the female nearby.”
Males Become More Aggressive During Mating Season
In the footage, the rattlesnakes coil around each other and take sharp jabs while keeping their eyes on the female prize. Their heads are raised high and proud as they hiss and plot their next moves.
The brutal behavior is common during mating season, which takes place in late summer. Males are typically docile most of the year, but during the courting months, they become aggressive. And the behavior can affect humans just as much as it can affect the competition.
In many cases, male rattlesnakes will hide when a human nears them. But when hormones are coursing through their veins, they tend to be bolder, which means they’ll more likely to stand their ground and strike.
And finding the reptiles is more common during those weeks, too. During the breeding season, the males can smell their perspective partners from miles away. And that scent draws them out of hoards.
But accidentally disrupting a rattlesnake is something people should avoid at all costs. The animal, particularly the timber rattlesnakes shown above are incredibly venomous. And while bites are rare, when they happen, they can be deadly.
Most People Will Never See a Rattlesnake in the Wild
Luckily, just because rattlesnake sightings are more frequent this time of year, they typically don’t happen often. Most people living in areas with the reptile will go their entire lives without ever seeing one. But if they do, it’s important not to react.
As Arizona’s Herpetological Society’s venom manager Cale Morris told Phoenix outlet 12 News, most people who are injured by a snake attack first.
“If you just keep away from them, step back, and give them space, they move on,” Morris explained to 12 News. “A lot of the encounters when it goes bad is when people try and throw rocks at them or take sticks and literally try to kill them. That’s when it gets dangerous and people get bit because the snake feels threatened.”