Male Garter Snake Tricks Other Males With His Female Scent | Life | BBC Earth


A male red-sided garter snake. He
survived the winter by hibernating underground where the temperature never
dropped below zero .The weak sun persuades more males to emerge. They’re
cold and can’t move fast, yet they are in an urgent race. The first males to warm
up will have a head start when the first females appear. Meltwater provides the
first drink they’ve had for six months. At last, a female has emerged. The warmest males will inevitably be the first to react to her smell. She will only mate
once, so competition between them is intense. This male has overslept. He will need hours to warm up. At the
moment, he stands no chance of mating. Most of the other males are ready to
chase females, but curiously some leave the race and go to join the cold male. They slide their warm bodies over him,
just as they would if they were courting a female More and more males crowd around him. Why? Their relative temperatures show what’s
going on. His cool body showing as blue is quickly warming as it absorbs heat
from the other males. He’s a trickster. He’s fooled the others by giving off a
scent just like a female’s and they are trying to mate with him. He only needs a
few minutes of this to steal enough heat from his rivals to catch up and join the
chase. Every spring, tens of thousands of garter snakes fight it out in this
mating frenzy. It is, in numbers, the greatest gathering
of reptiles in the world

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