The World's Biggest Snake Orgy Just Went Down in This Pit
O, Canada, beautiful, beautiful Canada! The land of wolves! The land of Liam Neeson's frightening culinary temptations! And this time of year -- as it happens every year -- the land of the largest snake orgy on the planet. Quick, someone check on David Attenborough!
Jokes aside, Narcisse, Manitoba, about an hour-and-a-half's drive from Winnipeg, really does hold the largest collection of snakes piling on top of each other to get it on. The conservation area -- the Narcisse Snake Pits -- is open to the public for the best possible view of all the slithery serpents getting it on with each other after the cold Canadian winter subsides. About 75,000 red-sided garter snakes came out for the party this year, blanketing a surface of the pit, and it was glorious. It's a major tourist attraction, a favorite for parents to even bring their kids to pick them up and play with them.
The males get it started, gathering around and on top of each other in large clumps as they wait for the females to join in. Once one turns up (as the Twitter video above shows) the males jump on top of her in animal heat, their resolve powerless in the face of their own libido and her pheromone-fueled wiles.
It goes down this way because, like most frat parties you can remember from college, the ratio is skewed. Sometimes males outnumber the larger females as much as 10,000 to 1. As Doug Collicutt, a biologist, told the New York Times: “Imagine trying to find a slightly bigger piece of spaghetti in a colander of spaghetti, and it’s moving.”
The female, swarmed with male suitors, eventually decides which one she will select (and may take several through an aptly named, not-terribly-clear process called "cryptic female choice"). After she and her chosen mate get busy, she can choose to either let his snake-semen-filled plug dissolve and mate with another, or go off on her own to carry the babies to term by the time August rolls around. Evolution, in this case, seems cannily progressive.
It's also simultaneously funny and terrifying, since, as we know, snakes -- even non-venomous ones like the red-sided garter -- are fucking terrifying. But personally I thank the Twitter user Sirons for offering up the perfect, objectively correct analysis of the proceedings: "At least it is not a bunch of clowns!"
h/t CBC News
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