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Animals | March 22, 2022 9:40 AM | hangbony

Male rattlesnakes filmed wrestling for dominance in California

A mountain biker came across a pair of tussling rattlesnakes while exploring the trails in California’s Cheeseboro Canyon recently and stopped to photograph the i.ncid.ent.

The video, which stars two western or southern Pacific rattlesnakes, was posted to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area’s Facebook page earlier this month (Crotalus oreganus). It’s not uncommon for males to be t.wisted in c.onflict at this time of year as they compete for the privilege to mate with females. “The purpose of these c.onf.rontations is to establish dominance, not to d.amage or k.i.l.l one other,” argues animal ecologist Dr. David Steen.

The behavior is frequently misinterpreted as mating, and it is even referred to as a mating dance, which adds to the misunderstanding. The rivals strive to prove to a nearby female that they are the stronger individual in a classic rattlesnake c.onf.rontation by lifting their bodies and heads. It’s unclear who won this fight, but we’re betting for the rattlesnake on the far right.

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