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Phoenix-area woman stumbles across, films rattlesnake duel

PHOENIX — A Phoenix-area hiker stumbled across two male rattlesnakes locked in a “combat dance,” and caught it all on video.

Laura Miller told Arizona Highways she was enjoying lunch on a trail off of Cave Creek Road when it happened.

“I noticed something across the wash, on the hill, waving, like ribbons caught on a bush or something,” she said. “I zoomed in with my camera and saw they were snakes.”

As unusual as this looks, it’s not the first time lovers of the outdoors have caught a rattlesnake fight on video. It turns out, the machismo serpents are known to initiate this combat dance when competing for a nearby female rattler.

Herpetologist Greg Pauly of the Natural History Museum told The Dodo “male rattlesnakes will often spend multiple days with a female until she is ready to mate. If another male comes along, the two males will engage in this ‘combat.’

“The combat typically involves the two rising up into the air and trying to push the other back to the ground. Usually the larger male wins and the other leaves the area.”

Miller packed up her belongings and left the area as soon as she lost sight of the shimmying snakes, which was likely a good idea as the female snake was probably close by.

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