Snake Season

October 2010

Why are snakes so common this time of year?

Answer

During September and October every year, we receive large numbers of requests to identify snakes. What is so special about this period?

After a quiet winter and the first warm weather, south-east Queensland snakes get “frisky”. Mature females snakes have quietly spent the winter developing egg follicles. Now they broadcast their availability using pheromones. Mature males roam in search of these receptive ladies, literally “following their nose”.

Since most eligible males will roam, it’s no wonder there is a rash of snake sightings reported to us at this time each year. The males, pre-occupied with their quest, are more likely to cross roads, lawns and other open spaces. Contrary to popular belief, these snakes are not more aggressive at this time- just more easily encountered. These are busy snakes with important things on their mind.

Depending on the species, there are two main ways snake species determine the right to mate;

  1. males either engage in combat or
  2. males don’t fight but follow the female closely in activity that could possibly be described as a scrum.

Whether there is combat or a scrum, the most vigorous male is more likely to succeed.

 

Keelback Snake mating aggregation The photo is of a Keelback mating aggregation. Several smaller males are following a female.
Photo by Cherise Walmsley

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