1. Tethys says

    Hmm, are you sure that is fighting? It looks more like uphill snake is trying to determine if downhill snake might be receptive to making some baby snakes. Downhill snake is pretty focused on the photographer, but eventually decides that uphill snake is more annoying than the person with the camera.

  2. says

    I’ve seen that on TV shows before. See also: giraffes, who fight with their necks and horns. They would kill each other if they fought each other the way they fight lions.

  3. microraptor says

    left0ver1under @10:

    Giraffes are still trying to kill or cripple each other when they fight. They aim for the underbelly and genitals of their opponents whenever they can.

    As far as the original video, well Rock’m Sock’m Rattlesnakes.

  4. Ichthyic says

    microraptor confirms what I have seen.

    I have seen video of them fighting to the death. After a 15 minute bout, one giraffe did not walk away, and died of his injuries over the next hour.

    not kidding.

    I have no idea how common it is, but likely when you get two very evenly matched opponents… you will indeed get serious fights and injuries involved. that’s not uncommon in fights over territory with most animals I have studied… even fish. if there is a noticeable size discrepancy, fights tend not to last long and nobody gets hurt, but if the combatants are equally matched… they tend to hold back less, and the fights are much longer.

    the guy in the vid is simply wrong, or fudging it because the producers didn’t want him to talk about how really violent it is; it isn’t just a ritualistic thing… it’s real, damaging fighting.

  5. Tethys says

    I still can’t tell if that is a mating wrestle, or a fighting wrestle. I know that snakes determine gender by scent, and uphill snake is doing a lot of tongue flicking before he notices the person with the camera, and rears up to get a better look.

    It is almost comical the way downhill snake repels twining wrestle with a couple of face strikes, and then stops dead and rears up at noticing the human in it’s escape path. “Hey, cool it you weirdo, get off me! *strike strike* slither Oh SHIT!”

  6. Tethys says

    Rattlesnakes in Arizona

    Males will follow scent trails of females, with mating on their minds. If two males come upon a female, they will fight over her, wrestling with each other, until the stronger one throws down the other. They don’t bite or injure each other, but will continue to wrestle until the weaker snake backs down.

    Rattlesnakes have elaborate courtship rituals but only about 10 percent of these will result in copulation. A pair of courting rattlers can mate up to 12 hours at a time. A mother rattlesnake gives birth to live young during the monsoon season.

    There are 13 types of rattlesnakes in Arizona, 9 of which can be seen here in Cochise County. The most commonly seen are the Western diamondback, Mojave, and black-tailed.

  7. microraptor says

    Fun fact about the Mojave rattlesnake, now that it’s been brought up: despite the name, the Mojave Desert constitutes only a small portion of its range, which is continuous from California to west Texas and south to central Mexico. It also stands out among rattlesnakes for producing a strong neurotoxin in addition to a hemotoxin.

  8. Ichthyic says

    I still can’t tell if that is a mating wrestle, or a fighting wrestle.

    I can.

    it was 2 males fighting.

    end of.

  9. Tethys says

    I can.
    it was 2 males fighting.
    end of.

    Yeah, even though the larger snake isn’t doing the ritual upright head posture, kept trying to get away, won the fight, and did try to bite the one I am quite sure is an addlepated male, its clearly more logical to just assume it is two males on your say so.
    You being an asshole is not appreciated.

    end of

  10. carlie says

    Severity of the fighting depends primarily on the stakes. If there are sufficient females around, and the males are young and have a lot of mating seasons ahead of them, competition fights for mating tend to be nonfatal. You see the fatal fights in species that only have a single breeding season, few females, or other conditions that mean it’s now or nothing.