Outdoors blog

Male rattlers risk only pride for right to breed

The rattlesnake is a part of the vast diversity of animals and plants that survive the searing heat, arid climate, and flash floods of one of the most spectacular wildernesses left in the U.S. -- the Sonoran Desert. The National Geographic special features an amazing portrait of this complex American landscape. NBC Photo (NBC Photo)
The rattlesnake is a part of the vast diversity of animals and plants that survive the searing heat, arid climate, and flash floods of one of the most spectacular wildernesses left in the U.S. -- the Sonoran Desert. The National Geographic special features an amazing portrait of this complex American landscape. NBC Photo (NBC Photo)

NOT QUITE RAGING REPTILES -- Despite the fear and loathing rattlesnakes provoke, they fight like gentlemen among themselves.

Ray Sasser of the Dallas Morning News described; a spring battle between two male western rattlers vying for mating rights to a nearby female.

The snakes were about the same size – each about 4 feet long ­– and engaged in a bout that lasted about 20 minutes.

“The rattlers are not immune to their own venom,” Sasser points out. “Out of professional courtesy, they don’t bite one another. They instead perform what amounts to an arm wrestling bout, which sounds weird for an animal that doesn’t have arms.

“Rattlers make up for the lack of appendages by substituting their bodies for arms, rearing as high as possible off the ground and trying to force their opponent into submission.”




You must be logged in to post comments. Please log in here or click the comment box below for options.

comments powered by Disqus
« Back to Outdoors blog
Rich Landers
Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

Follow Rich online:









Sections


Profile

Contact the Spokesman

Main switchboard:
(509) 459-5000
Customer service:
(800) 338-8801
Newsroom:
(509) 459-5400
(800) 789-0029
Back to Spokesman Mobile