Threaten a rattlesnake as a human, and you’re likely to get an intimidating shake of its rattling tail and possibly a venomous bite. Threaten one as a fellow rattlesnake, and you’ll land yourself in a deadly dance-off.
Local resident Laura Miller managed to capture two Western diamondback rattlesnakes battling it out with an amazing “snake dance” in Phoenix, Arizona.
"I noticed something across the wash, on the hill, waving, like ribbons caught on a bush or something," she told the Arizona Department of Transportation. "I zoomed in with my camera and saw they were snakes."
As the Arizona Department of Transportation goes on to explain, this is two male rattlesnakes, likely to be caught amid a battle for dominance. Whoever wins, wins the rights to mate with the local female. As Boyce Thompson Arboretum explains, “The male who loses has a physiological response which will result in a rise of stress hormones and generally will seek refuge, losing interest in breeding.”
The behaviour only occurs during the western diamondback rattlesnake mating seasons. Unlike most seasonal breeders, diamondbacks actually have two mating seasons; one in early spring and the end of summer/early autumn.