Fighting Snake Style

by on Sep.14, 2012, under Fauna, Magazine, Reptiles, Victoria

Fighting or Mating? secret sighting Vol 1 no 1

Sharon Small


While sometimes seen snakes rarely mate in the open, However boys will be boys, they can often be seen to take their fights outside!  Ritual combat is seen in various species of venomous snakes but also amongst some pythons.

We all know snakes have evolved without legs and arms, so how does naturals selection work? What do snakes do to eliminate weaker snakes from the gene pool?


These two Highland Copperheads Austrelaps ramsayi were observed from near Bendoc, Gippsland Victoria in April 2011. Copperheads and Tiger Snakes may often engage in autumn breeding, this of course means ritual combat may also be seen during this period. While classed as dangerously venomous these snakes are relatively placid and rarely do bites occur due to their temperament. These two snakes were seen first entwined but then broke apart slightly when photographed to eventually going back into it again.



When two male snakes follow female pheromone trails, they can inevitably come across other males following scent if these snakes are of similar size they will be drawn into the battle by using their bodies to slowly entwine lengthwise along the way to 60 -70 % of length.




This struggle may last for an hour or more. The coils tighten and the heads involved in a struggle of strength to force one aside and away from the females trail. The winner then pursues the female hidden somewhere nearby.