10/09/2008

Garter snakes - doing the dirty, baby!

When I first saw the Garter snakes curling around each other I thought they may be mating, but I dismissed it because it’s Fall, not Spring. Unlike humans most animals don’t do the dirty just for pleasure. I was watching the snakes yesterday and there was a LOT of vibrating going on. Hmm, time to check out more info on these little snakes.
Well after some cruising around, I came upon the answer:
“Males, upon emerging from hibernation, become sexually active sooner than the females, ensuring that females will be mated at the time they leave the den. To insure that there are in fact young in the spring, mating often occurs in late fall as well; the sperm is stored until the spring. If there is successful mating in the spring, the fall sperm is allowed to degenerate.”
Holy cow, you really can learn something new every day. By the way, the mating initially involved 3 parties, but the last few days the smaller and darker grater has been a casual observer, rather than a participant.
I tracked the snakes all over the garden yesterday and they were mating all day. They kept moving around to stay in the sun. Being cold blooded, I assume the passion fades when you get cold. Given their amazingly smart sperm storage policy, it isn’t hard to understand why these snakes are so common. Do you know if any other snakes do this?



No comments: