Two cottonmouths have an epic battle in a Georgia swamp.
Most people are not fans of running across snakes in their outdoor adventures. Especially if it happens to be one of a venomous variety like cottonmouth, also known as a water moccasin. For some people the only thing worse than encountering a single snake is encountering two of them at the same time. Which is exactly what happened to Georgia DNR wildlife technician Matthew Moore recently.
Moore filmed a nearly ten-minute long battle between two large male cottonmouths in a swamp in Bulloch County. Lacking arms and claws, snakes battle in a very different manner than most creatures you might find.
The two snakes twist and curl around one another, jockeying for position trying to ward the other off as they battle for territory and presumably a nearby female snake in hiding. The fight is fascinating to watch unfold.
This type of combat is common for cottonmouths during the breeding season. Dominant males will run off smaller rivals. The snakes use their strength to battle one another rather than their venom, which as most outdoorsmen and women know, is quite potent and dangerous. According to the video's description, this was not the first time Moore had witnessed such a fight. He suspects the female snake was hiding in the roots of the cypress tree where the fight starts at the beginning of the video.
The cottonmouth is an interesting species because in addition to fighting like this for breeding rights, the females will give birth to live young. Litters usually consist of up to eight baby snakes. The females will also sometimes aggressively defend their young if a predator tries to pick one off.
While most people do not want to run into a sight like this in the woods, this video demonstrates that snakes will go on with their own business if undisturbed. If you leave them alone, odds are they will leave you alone too. Most snake bites tend to happen when people try to capture or kill a snake anyway, so in a case like this, it is best to just le the snakes do their thing and observe from a distance.
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