Normally you see the red-bellied black snakes either slithering along the ground through the undergrowth or basking in the sun. This time was a bit different… it’s spring mating season at the zoo. These two were putting on an impressive display.
According to the Australian Museum “Males travel widely in search of receptive females and will engage in combat with any rival male that they encounter. Combat involves the two combatants spreading their necks and rearing up their forebodies, and hooking their necks around one another with a twisting motion that leads to the bodies becoming intertwined. After the initial engagement, they lie outstretched along the ground, but in some cases the forebodies remain raised. The object of the combat seems to be to push and hold the opponent down, and during the struggle the snakes may hiss and even bite each other (the biting is not serious as the snakes are largely immune to their species’ venom). In the wild, the bouts may last from only a few minutes for up to half and hour, and in captivity, the same two snakes may engage in intermittent bouts over several days. During these bouts the snakes can become so pre-occupied that they are totally oblivious to their surroundings. Eventually a “winner” is determined and the snakes part ways, with the defeated male then leaving the area.”
Unfortunately, I didn’t have a lens hood to block the reflections on the glass and my camera was still set up for taking photos inside the dark of the reptile house so these photos are not technically great quality but I think that the subject matter makes up for the reflection and focus issues.