A Close Encounter With a Rattlesnake Battle
February 29, 2016 at 5:30 am
A rattlesnake in Sonoita. | Jeff Maltzman
A Phoenix-area resident recently stumbled across two male rattlesnakes engaged in a fight — and caught it on video.
Laura Miller says she was enjoying lunch on a trail off of Cave Creek Road when it happened. "I noticed something across the wash, on the hill, waving, like ribbons caught on a bush or something," she says. "I zoomed in with my camera and saw they were snakes."
Miller says she was fascinated by the spectacle and knew she'd be unlikely to see something like it again. Indeed, this kind of behavior, often called a "combat dance," is generally seen only during breeding season, experts say. Whichever snake wins these battles may win breeding rights if a female is nearby.
The snakes were not close to Miller at the beginning, but she lost sight of them after they rolled a ways down the hill. "We didn't know where they would turn up, so we picked up our stuff and moved away," she says.
Miller managed to get two videos of the snakes' dance; you can watch them below. We're grateful she shared her story with us.