The Snake Samba in Canada
June 27, 2014
I am always astounded when I see a video like this. It reminds me of my youth when my next door neighbor had a garter snake that had babies. We had no clue that they were encased in a film-like birthing sac and all but one of them died. But this video is certainly a sight to see, and I would like to see it in person.
Photo courtesy Oregon State University
Garter snakes gather for a reproductive orgy, yet oftentimes males become attracted to other males.
Every year in Manitoba, Canada, the Narcisse Snake Dens come alive with thousands and thousands of red-sided garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis parietalis) looking to find a mate. And the odds aren't good for the males as there are an estimated 100 males for each female in "the pit," a place where the females desperately try to get out of. It is a crazy looking but controlled dance of the snake. You know what is even astonishing than seeing thousands and thousands of these snakes looking to mate? The fact that oftentimes the males prefer other males to females. An Oregon State University study determined the snakes depend wholly on pheromones to identify male from female, but oftentimes male snakes would have elevated levels of estrogen and this pheromone production gets so strong that male snakes preferred these male snakes to small female snakes!
What snake lover wouldn't want to witness this event live?