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Not something you observe every day....zonata....

Posted: May 16th, 2012, 7:23 pm
by gmerker
….combat dancing…

I came upon this a while back…pretty interesting…two male California Mountain Kingsnakes in full combat mode:

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and after one male vanished into a crack under the old log in this image, a very tired second male posed for another quick snapshot:
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I have found a lot of Northern Pacific Rattlesnakes combating, but never a Lampropeltis.

Hope to see you in the field, gmerker

Re: Not something you observe every day....zonata....

Posted: May 16th, 2012, 7:36 pm
by gbin
Very cool photo series! (Probably dumb) question: How could you tell that they were males engaged in combat rather than a male and female engaged in courtship/mating?

Gerry

Re: Not something you observe every day....zonata....

Posted: May 16th, 2012, 8:16 pm
by monklet
One thing I've noticed in my free-ranging captives is that male combat is distinct from courtship. The combat is more of a wrestling, whereas the courtship is more a following by the male, bodies aligned and utlimately an aggressive pinning of the female by her nape. In rare cases I have observed an aggresive male bite the nape of another during a combat session. Of course, those observations are under captive conditions and purely anecdotal with no controls.

Re: Not something you observe every day....zonata....

Posted: May 17th, 2012, 7:46 am
by scottriv
Gerold, that looks staged to me.


Just kidding. ;)


THAT is very cool......you need one of those smart phones to shoot video next time.

Awesome picture at the top. should be a poster.

I bet even Hubbsy hasn't seen male combat in the field.

Re: Not something you observe every day....zonata....

Posted: May 17th, 2012, 10:18 am
by Zach_Lim
Gerold-
That is quite the sight! Very interesting behavior that I'd LOVE to see with any non-Crotalus snake haha.

Multicincta?

Zach

Re: Not something you observe every day....zonata....

Posted: May 17th, 2012, 3:10 pm
by condyle
Nice post. I've seen the same thing "once" with coastal zs. Glad you captured this in picture.

Re: Not something you observe every day....zonata....

Posted: May 17th, 2012, 9:50 pm
by Bill Love
Very cool observation, and photos!

Re: Not something you observe every day....zonata....

Posted: May 17th, 2012, 10:02 pm
by rsmith
Very cool, but I'm wondering if you stuck around to see if the winning male went on to find a female that may have been nearby?

Re: Not something you observe every day....zonata....

Posted: May 19th, 2012, 3:00 am
by Ross Padilla
That is absolutely amazing you came across this, Gerold! :thumb:

Re: Not something you observe every day....zonata....

Posted: May 19th, 2012, 6:32 am
by Will Wells
Awesome observation! I've witnessed male combat with lizards on several occasions. Hope to see something like that some day in snakes.

Re: Not something you observe every day....zonata....

Posted: May 22nd, 2012, 5:14 pm
by gmerker
Image

Thanks to all for the very kind comments. I will try and answer some of the questions posed by several of you:

Gerry: there is no such thing as a dumb question. Just looking at the images, it does appear to be two animals in breeding mode. However, as monklet stated, it really looked more like a wrestling bout than anything else. The image below shows what happened a couple of times when one of the males appeared to throw the other male about. Soon after this image was taken, the animal (belly up in the image) disappeared into a huge granite slab.
Image

Monklet: Thanks very much for the input. I am definitely interested in your free-ranging captive set-up. Is it an enclosure that provides animals with an outdoor experience? If you don’t mind, please elaborate…..thanks…..

Scotttriv: Definitely staged….lol….NOT….I appreciate the kind comments….I do wonder if the great Brian Hubbs has observed combat in these animals….wouldn’t be surprised if he did….

Zach_Lim: Yes they are multicinta…I too have never observed combat behavior in anything other than a Crotalid….which is still a very very cool thing to see….

condyle: it would be nice to see something like this in a tri-color that was a tad more tri-colored, like multifasciata….lol

Bill Love: Thanks for the kind comment….how have you been enjoying your new home? I am sure you are loving it….

rsmith: Both males soon disappeared into the same large fissure (under that dried up piece of wood shown in both images)….there was no sign of the female, but I am sure one was somewhere close by…

Ross Padilla: Thanks very much for the kind comment…

Will Wells: I have observed combat behavior only once in whiptail lizards…as a child. Thanks for the very kind comments.

Re: Not something you observe every day....zonata....

Posted: May 22nd, 2012, 6:01 pm
by scottriv
What shame that the ugly male won the battle :lol:

Would have been incredible to get the whole thing on video.

If you go buy a video smart phone for next time, there might never be a next time for something THAT cool.

Good job of immortalizing the incident!!

Re: Not something you observe every day....zonata....

Posted: May 22nd, 2012, 11:58 pm
by Zach_Lim
scottriv wrote:What shame that the ugly male won the battle :lol:

Would have been incredible to get the whole thing on video.

If you go buy a video smart phone for next time, there might never be a next time for something THAT cool.

Good job of immortalizing the incident!!
Uh...there is no such thing as an ugly zonata :lol: haha! I may be the only one, but the darker and more "crossover" the Z is, the more beautiful!

Re: Not something you observe every day....zonata....

Posted: May 23rd, 2012, 3:34 am
by Eric East
Truly great stuff; thanks for sharing with us!

Re: Not something you observe every day....zonata....

Posted: May 23rd, 2012, 6:08 am
by gbin
gmerker wrote:... Just looking at the images, it does appear to be two animals in breeding mode. However, as monklet stated, it really looked more like a wrestling bout than anything else. The image below shows what happened a couple of times when one of the males appeared to throw the other male about. Soon after this image was taken, the animal (belly up in the image) disappeared into a huge granite slab.
Understood, Gerold, and that particular image really helped clarify the situation for me, too. Thanks!

Gerry