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Snake Behavior and Life History - Reproduction and Male Combat

 









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Reproduction and Young
Southern Pacific Ratlesnakes mating Southern Pacific Ratlesnakes mating snakes snakes mating
Steve Bledsoe, ©, photographed these two Southern Pacific Ratlesnakes mating in March in San Diego County. Adult Red Diamond Rattlesnakes mating in San Diego County © Shelly Hancock Two adult California Striped Racers mating in May in Santa Barbara County
© Doug Campbell
Blotched Watersnakes Blotched Watersnakes Blotched Watersnakes Southern Watersnakes
A pair of Blotched Watersnakes pair up in a creek in the Texas hill country. Two adult Southern Watersnakes, covered with duckweed, mating on top of a log in a small pond.
mating Great Basin Gopher Snakes mating Great Basin Gopher Snakes Red Coachwhips Red Coachwhips
A pair of mating Great Basin Gopher Snakes from Lassen County © Debbie Frost Two Red Coachwhips mating in late May. © Mark Pugs
gopher snake hatching snakes snakes snakes
A baby Pacific Gopher Snake emerges
from its egg. © Patrick Briggs
A pair of breeding Florida Watersnakes at the edge of a boardwalk in a Florida cypress swamp in early Spring.
A pair of breeding Brown Watersnakes in a Florida cypress swamp in early Spring.
San Francisco Gartersnake San Francisco Gartersnake San Francisco Gartersnake Western Yellow-bellied Racers
A pair of mating adult endangered San Francisco Gartersnakes  © James Maughn Cheryl Haga photographed this pair of breeding adult Western Yellow-bellied Racers in her yard in Contra Costa County.
snakes snakes snakes Red Diamond Rattlesnake
Thousands of Red-sided Gartersnakes in their spring mass emergence from hibernation, wrestle for breeding opportunities down in the Narcisse snake dens in Manitoba, Canada. A male Red Diamond Rattlesnake guards an uninterrested female hoping to mate with her if she becomes receptive. You can see a video of this pair on YouTube. © Gregory Litiatco
northern pacific rattlesnake northern pacific rattlesnake Northern Mohave Rattlesnake   Northern Mohave Rattlesnake
Breeding Northern Pacific Rattlesnakes, San Mateo County  © Zach Lim
Breeding Northern Pacific Rattlesnakes discovered together under a piece of tin, San Joaquin County A pair of in situ Mohave Rattlesnakes (probably a breeding male and female) found in a field of blooming poppies and coreopsis on an early April afternoon in the Antelope Valley, Kern County © Brian Blackwelder

Santa Cruz Gartersnakes Santa Cruz Gartersnakes Santa Cruz Gartersnakes Pacific Gopher Snakes breeding
A group of breeding Santa Cruz Gartersnakes photographed in late March in San Mateo County.
Snakes were moving constantly in the reeds and across trails heading towards the reeds. They're not easy to see, but if you look carefully at the enlarged images, you can see several snakes in various areas of each picture. © Zachary Lim

Adult Pacific Gopher Snakes breeding on a trail. © Natalie McNear
     
Male Snakes in Breeding Combat

During the breeding season when they compete for a female, male snakes will "wrestle" with each other in what is sometimes confused with a mating dance, to prove which one is stronger. The weaker one is forced to retreat unharmed. There is always a female nearby who they are fighting over.
Male Southwestern Speckled Rattlesnakes in breeding season combat Male Southwestern Speckled Rattlesnakes in breeding season combat Male Southern Pacific Rattlesnakes in combat Red Diamond Rattlesnake
Male Southwestern Speckled Rattlesnakes in breeding season combat. © lara hartley Male Southern Pacific Rattlesnakes in combat. © Steve Broggie Male Red Diamond Rattlesnakes in combat, Riverside County
© Gregory Litiatco
male Northern Pacific Rattlesnakes in a wrestling match male Northern Pacific Rattlesnakes in a wrestling match male Northern Pacific Rattlesnakes in a wrestling match Pacific Gopher Snake
Two male Northern Pacific Rattlesnakes in a wrestling match over a female in late April in Santa Clara County. The shot on the far right shows a snake on the ground, probably the female, with one of the males above her. During the action, a third male also entered the scene, which is not shown here. © Holly Lane This short video shows two adult male Pacific Gopher Snakes wrestling for dominance during the May breeding season in Napa County. © Woody Davis
california kingsnake california kingsnake california kingsnake california kingsnake
This male and female California Kingsnake were found courting on a back porch at the end of April in San Diego County.
california kingsnake video california kingsnake video california kingsnake video  
These three short videos show the same two California Kingsnakes depicted in the stills above.  
Glossy Snake Glossy Snake Glossy Snake California Lyresnake
These two adult male California Lyresnakes were found combatting on a road at night in mid June in Baja California Norte.
© Stuart Young
A short video of the same two males seen to the left. At the end, one of them gives up and races away.
© Stewart Young
gopher snakes gopher snakes gopher snakes  
 Two adult San Diego Gophersnakes all twisted up in Los Angeles County - they were described to me as a mating pair, but they look more like two males in combat. © Chris Mowry
 
   

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