Is this a Puff Adder Mating Ritual?

27May
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The puff adder is a highly venomous viper snake commonly found in the Eastern Cape region of South Africa. It is the fastest striking snake in the world and typically lies sluggishly, but well camouflaged, between rocks and grass waiting for his prey to come to him. They get their name from a distinctive sound they make when under threat – they coil up and make a loud hissing sound to warn the perpetrator that they are too close. This video captures a very interesting interaction between two puff adders. Do you think it might be some sort of mating dance or ritual?

Puff Adders Mate in Late Winter or Spring

During a mating ritual the male snake does most of the slithering while the female remains almost static. It is therefore unlikely that the videographer has captured a mating ritual. However, during the mating season female puff adders leave a pheromone trail to attract males. It is common for more than one suitor to follow the trail. The end result is a wrestling match between the suitors to determine which is the more dominant male and who gets the girl!

Based on this information it appears that the video depicts two male puff adders in a fight for dominance over a female. Did you see a puff adder while on safari at Kariega Game Reserve? Share your story and pictures on the Kariega Facebook page.

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