Image: Greg Schechter/Flickr

Yearly Snake Fuckfest Is In Full Swing

Visitors flock to snake dens each spring in Manitoba, Canada to witness the snake orgies.

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May 5 2017, 7:44pm

Image: Greg Schechter/Flickr

Tens of thousands of red-sided garter snakes have risen from their winter slumber. They've slithered out of their dens into the sunlight, wiggled the cold away, and started ravaging each other wholesale. Experts call this phenomenon a "mating ball". The best part is, the Narcisse Snake Dens site is a tourist attraction that Manitoba is very proud of.

A look at the Narcisse Snake Dens in Manitoba. Video: Nature North/YouTube

I ran into Brendan Spearin on Twitter, a fisheries protection biologist, who took his inlaws to the snake dens "to show them something uniquely Manitoban."

Around the pit, when Spearin went, there were a lot of little kids running around, he told me in a Twitter DM. He wrote that there were "tons of kids picking up and playing with snakes, hopefully gently."

Inside the den it's a big ball of snakes rolling around, he wrote. "They're coming from all directions trying to find ways into the dens, snakes crawling on trees, trying to navigate the steep-ish cliffs."

The experience, for Spearin, was really great. "I think we'd definitely go again," he wrote. "Only (two out of the four pits) were considered 'active', so it can only get more rowdy, or so I'd imagine."

Read More: Super Snake Orgies Are Causing Male Snakes to Die Younger

Spring emergence is still underway and the Government of Manitoba predicts that there are more snakes to come.

While a massive snake orgy is a sight to see, this mating process comes at quite a cost for the male snakes, especially the smaller ones. In 2015, a group of researchers found that male red-garter snakes were losing up to 18 per cent of their daily energy every time they ejaculated. These findings lead the team to believe that the smaller snakes giv'er everything they've got when mating, because surviving winters is not guaranteed. In fact, 80 per cent of baby red-sided garter snakes don't survive their first winter, making adult females very valuable.

A red-sided garter snake den. Image: Greg Schechter/Flickr

Male snakes are so focused on reproduction, they don't eat during the mating season.

Newer research even suggests that this "mating ball" ritual can be potentially fatal to male snakes.

The snake dens are at their best viewing points for only two or three weeks, from late April to late May, and again in early September. So if you do find yourself in Manitoba, don't miss out on one of the many strange, strange things Canada has to offer.

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