[permaculture] some fascinating things about garter snakes

woody~debris woodydebris at gmail.com
Tue Jul 21 16:20:21 EDT 2009

I just pulled this from wikipedia, don't know how accurate it is but sure
makes for a good story around the campfire (or snake hibernaculum)



"In the early part of spring, when snakes are coming out of hibernation the
males generally emerge first to be first in line when the females wake up.
Some males will assume the role of a female and lead many of the waiting
males away from the burrow, luring them with a fake female
After such a male has led them away, he "turns" back into a male and races
back to the den, just as the females emerge. He is then the first to mate
with all the females he can catch.

There are generally far more males than females and that is why, during
mating season, they form "mating balls," where one or two females will be
completely swarmed by 10 or more males. Sometimes a male snake will mate
with a female before hibernation and the female will store the sperm in
herself until spring, when she will allow her eggs to be fertilized.
However, if she mates again in the spring, the fall sperm will degenerate,
and the spring sperm will fertilize her eggs."

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