UPDATE: Black mamba mating ritual explained

2015-02-09 11:55
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Cape Town - We recently posted a video on Traveller24 of two black mambas engaging in an energetic writhing dance, which looked suspiciously much like a mating ritual to us.

And in all fairness, this was the original description on the video posted to Kruger Sightings' YouTube channel.

Well, turns out there's a lot more to it than a little bit of reptilian loving. 

After a number of readers commented on the article, saying that it looked more like a fight than a mating ritual, we decided to investigate and called in the help of snake experts Shaun and Tracey Bodington from the Imhoff Snake Park near Kommetjie in the Western Cape for an explanation of what exactly is happening in the video. 

Watch the video here

They confirmed that the footage does show two male black mambas fighting "as part of a territorial dispute possibly linked to a potential mate." 

While the video shows only the two males engaged in battle, the female is probably lurking around close by, as Shaun explains that the males would have picked up on a fresh trail of pheromones left by the female as she passed by.

Despite being one of the deadliest snake species in the world, a fight between two black mambas would hardly ever end in death.

"It's a bit like a sumo wrestling match. A bit of pushing and shoving and eventually the one with the biggest push wins. The other one will then go off in its own direction. They will never engage in biting," Shaun says.  

He adds that genetically it is always a good thing that the bigger and better snake wins the battle, keeping the gene pool strong. 

While the mating ritual does look similar, it is apparently usually slightly more subdued.

Shaun and Tracy added that it is rather rare to catch snakes mating out in the open, as they are in the video. 

Have any great wildlife footage or images of your own? Send them to pics@traveller24.co.zaor tag Traveller24_sa in a post on Instagram.


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