Rattlesnake Fight (AKA Planet Earth For Real)

Have you ever seen a nature documentary series called 'Planet Earth'? It's produced by BBC? Narrated by David Attenborough? If you are part of the 1% of people who maybe said no, stop what you're doing and go watch it. If you said yes, but you are feeling like you could use another dose of crazy nature ish, then keep scrolling down.

This week has been pretty good as far as wildlife sightings go. I saw a cougar three days ago and had about five minutes of face-to-face time with her from a distance of about eight feet. Then yesterday we found an enormous black widow, red hour glass included. Not even an hour after that we found a huge (5-6 foot, 3-4 inch diameter) all black non-native snake at our first field site of the day. It made for an exciting morning.

BUT the grand finale to all of this happened this evening. We had just returned from a day of field work and were hanging out in the kitchen (aka the barn) where our two coworkers who had stayed back for a lab day had prepared a delicious meal. Nom time. As we are standing there with the barn door open as it always is, MJ shouts something. I look over towards her and about 20 feet away there are two full-grown northern Pacific rattle snakes (Crotalus oreganus) literally wrestling on the ground. Apparently this is to establish dominance, often to win a mate. They did this exquisite dance for around a half hour. At the end of it all, one of them bit the other and held on for probably 30 seconds. It was pretty intense to say the least. Oh, and yes, of course I have photos and video footage (video will come later). Take a look below! You can click the images to see them larger. Commenting is enabled on my blog, so feel free to leave feedback or reactions, etc.

A twisted dance.

Motion blur.

This is the exact moment when he struck his adversary.

He held his grasp around the other snakes neck for nearly a minute.

Blood drips from the bitten snakes mouth and pits (essentially nostrils). 

I have some pretty amazing video footage of this entire encounter that I will hopefully be publishing here shortly! Stay tuned.

Neal Handloser1 Comment