This Is How Rattlesnakes Throw Down

by
Suzanne Robertson
Although often mistaken for a mating ritual, these guys are not in love.

Beautiful and deadly.  A volunteer from the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area snapped these photos of two male Southern Pacific Rattlesnakes in the Sycamore Canyon area of Southern California.

Although often mistaken for a mating ritual, these guys are not in love. Experts say these movements are males fighting for dominance.  It’s no surprise that a female is usually nearby.

The snake fight blocked a trail in both directions for over five minutes. Then each one slithered to opposite sides of the path and disappeared.  

Be sure all humans and pets stay far away from these bad boys.  The Southern Pacific rattlesnake has highly toxic venom that attacks nerve endings and the snake can easily give a fatal bite. Because the venom is so strong, bites require a much higher dose of antivenin than used with other poisonous species.

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