An abundance of snakes

While walking around the boardwalk at Reelfoot Lake, we came upon a large number of water snakes that were swirling ferverishly in the water.  We were not sure at the time what we were witnessing, but have since found out that it was a breeding or mating ball.  In the spring, female snakes put off a pheromone scent which attracts males.  The male snakes then track the female, and a breeding ball occurs when there are many males competing over the same female.  In these photos, the female is the largest snake.

And since pictures don’t do the situation justice, here is a short video clip that gives a better idea of what a breeding ball looks like.

“Drama is life with the dull bits cut out.”  ~Alfred Hitchcock

13 thoughts on “An abundance of snakes

      • You’re welcome Rebecca. I follow a Swedish photographer and he often goes on whole-day jaunts on his bike and is quite enamored with grass snakes. John takes photos of them, picks them up and they must have recently given birth as a few weeks ago, he had photos of very small ones (the size of a worm) on his hands. He described coming upon a cluster or ball of mating snakes as well. He did not take a video, just had one picture and I’m going to hunt down his post (if I can – he posts several times a day and though he writes a narrative with each post in Swedish and English, the site is a little hard to navigate) and send your blog post. I think he’d enjoy this post … when the black snake attacked the baby robins last week at my friend’s home, he was quite interested in the story. Nature is amazing isn’t it?

      • Thanks! I would be interested in having a link to his post as well. I am not enamored with snakes in the least, but I have to say this was one of the most interesting things I have seen in quite a while — of course, from a safe distance. 🙂

      • Rebecca: I searched on his site and could not find that post, however, if you search for “grass snakes” you will see some other more-recent grass snake posts.

        So I went through the recent posts and found it! Here is John’s post on the mating grass snakes and he did have several photos. I will leave your post on there as well and he’ll see it tomorrow. He’ll be interested in the post and the video I’m sure. He recently found an injured snake and took it home with him. It had a broken spine and he had it euthanized a few days later.

      • Oh, my, that’s a lot of snakes! Makes you think twice about where you step while out walking in nature. Thanks so much for sharing it!

      • You’re welcome … I sent him your post from today as well. A friend of mine and his wife retired to New Mexico last Fall. He follows my blog and after the snakes and robin post last week said “snakes won’t hurt you – no need to be afraid” … he is an avid walker and the next day was walking in a hilly area and came upon a bull snake. He sent the pic from his phone but it didn’t come through so I Googled to find an image.. Very large and scary looking. He did admit he was taken aback.

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