Photos of Rattlesnakes Mating!

Rattlesnakes "dance" during breeding

When it comes to heading outdoors, you just never know what you will see. That’s the great thing about getting outside and walking around diverse habitats. Not only do healthy plant communities provide great wildlife habitat, but they also hosts the really cool stuff—the wildlife! I’ve always found that the best time to view any wildlife species is during the breeding or mating season. This is because animals are on the move and often times not paying much attention to things, such as me, around them.

I guess before I continue much further, I understand that many people do not enjoy snakes, especially rattlesnakes, but they are actually very interesting animals. But once you get over “they can kill you” thing, I think most people will appreciate the role that rattlesnakes play in their environment. Well, at least to some extent. These cold-blooded killers are not really the aggressive, come-and-get-you reptiles that people make them out to be.

They don’t try to lurk around barns and houses to scare the sh*t out of people or try and bite┬áthem. In fact, they are really just looking for prey. And when it comes to prey, they are fairly specific. These snakes rely on patience, camouflage, keen senses, and a lightning-quick strike to capture their prey by ambush. Rattlesnakes prefer rodents, but the occasional rabbit will work just fine. They will also catch birds, but this is rare for most rattlers. But an interesting thing that most people will never witness is their courting behavior during the breeding season.

The rattlesnake breeding season typically happens in late summer when the male seeks out and encounters a female. Although rattle snakes are generally thought of as being horizontal animals, they get quite vertical during the mating season. I’m sure there is a joke in there someone, so do what you can with that. Anyway, part of the rattlesnake breeding ritual involves “dancing” together with their heads up off the ground. This can go on for some time, but is rarely seen by humans. Check out the photos above and tell me what you think!

7 thoughts on “Photos of Rattlesnakes Mating!

  1. Clara

    Wow!! It is amazing how you got these pictures, but like Jason said… I would freak! You must be a pretty brave person.

  2. Jean Kerr

    Sorry guys, but that is two males engaged in a “combat” dance where one will try to push the other down. Winner then gets the girl.

  3. Siegfried

    I have seen this before and it is very cool. They also flick the rattles from side to side. Its like the music to their courting dance.

  4. FSB

    Jean is correct – those rattlesnakes are not mating or engaging in a courtship dance. Rather, it is ritual combat between two male snakes that is similar to arm-wrestling. They will not bite or injure one another in any way – this is a very gentlemanly contest.

    Once pushed to the ground, the loser will crawl away to find a good place to sulk, without contesting the outcome. Winner gets the girl, as Jean said. Classy behavior from a very classy animal – classier in fact than most of the ignorant clods who kill them on sight.

  5. Duke Pritchard

    Several years ago in Jack County I and two other men taking a break from oilfield work in the hill country took 2 five gallon buckets and some snake tongs up on the south side of the hill. It was cooler than usual late summer that week as we found the den which was surrounded by high grass. Long serpentine heads were swaying around and above the high grass everywhere. It never occurred to me that they were mating just trying to keep warm. I never saw so many diamond backs in my life and we were surrounded everywhere. We loaded up the buckets on our retreat out just to save our skins. Great pics wish I had a camera that day!

  6. smitty

    I think you should edit the story, to emphasize that the photos are “combative” males. Not breeding–as properly noted by Jean and FSB before me…..

    I have personally verified this by capturing individuals doing this “dance”. Both Males, however I did capture a larger female nearby at same time frame….

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