Friday 24 November 2017

WATCH: Can you handle this video? Thousands of snakes emerge from sinkholes after eight-month hibernation

Can you handle this video?
Can you handle this video?
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

Thousands of red-sided garter snakes emerge from sinkholes in Canada every spring, after napping for eight months.

Manitoba, Canada, is laced with sinkholes that line its superficial limestone bedrock and has the largest population of the red-sided garter snakes.

Once spring arrives the male snakes emerge from their lairs and sliver over each other in the hope of finding a female to mate with.

Females who are larger and wider are outnumbered 10,000 to 1 which results in hundreds of male snakes vying for one female’s attention.

Once the males are lured by a female's pheromones, several try to court one female by rubbing their chins along her back. This is called a ‘mating ball’.

The lucky guy closest to the female mates with her and leaves a plug that blocks her reproductive tract for two days, to prevent other males from mating with her.

Females then leave the collection of snakes and give birth later in the summer to up to 50 babies.

But if the female rejects the male, then she can prevent his sperm from fertilising her eggs, a mechanism called "cryptic female choice." She simply waits for the plug to dissolve and then mates with another male.

Once mating is completed the snakes return to the sinkholes where they hibernate for another eight months.


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