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."
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