Garter snakes show that you don’t always have to be the early bird to get the worm, and by worm, we mean a giant, marathon snake orgy.

SeekerPublished: July 10, 2018Updated: July 11, 2018
Published: July 10, 2018Updated: July 11, 2018

Red-sided garter snakes can be found in the vast icy plains of central Canada. Each fall, the entire population settles down for hibernation, and after several months, the garter snakes have some catching up to do with respect to their sex lives. As the snakes thaw, they move rapidly into reproductive mode and begin copulating with one another in what becomes a writhing ball of sexual spaghetti. These massive orgies can involve several thousand snakes at a time and have become something of a tourist attraction in several Canadian towns.

Some garter snakes wake up from hibernation quite a bit later than others. In order to get in on the action, the late arrivals emit female pheromones to attract other males their way. However, this trickery can get out of hand if too many males snakes are particularly attracted to a late-waking faker. Forced copulations can occur, and in extreme cases, individuals could face death via suffocation. It’s important that once the snoozers have warmed sufficiently, they immediately stop producing the female pheromones. This way, they can start copulating with the female snakes instead of pretending to be one of them. If the foolery is taken too far, the male snakes are potentially putting their own survival at risk.  

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