This Snake Fight Makes No Sense

Watch two snakes duke it out with ostensibly no explanation.
May 20, 2017, 2:00pm

While most of the terrible news these days tends to have something to do with politics, not all of it does. And unluckily for you, I'm here to tell you something horrifying. The snakes are fighting.

Snake fights aren't at all uncommon, but in a write-up published this week in the journal Ecology, researchers have described a seemingly new version. In the article, the authors describe a video taken by one of them when they happened to come across a Copperhead and a Cottonmouth battling it out in a patch of dirt. The video, taken last September, can be seen here.

The problem is, these two viper species don't usually live in the same habitats.Copperheads prefer terrestrial areas while Cottonmouths tend to like wetlands. And when snakes do fight, it's usually over a female. But these two snakes shouldn't be fighting over the same females. If they are, then it would mean one is willing to mate with a snake of a different species, not something typically observed in the wild.

The researchers aren't quite sure if that's what's going on here though since no female is in sight. There's a chance the snakes are fighting over shelter, which would also be strange since they shouldn't like the same place. If more of these inter-species fights are observed, we may be happening upon a new behavior and figuring out what brought it on will be an important question to answer.

Whatever the reason, inter-species snake fights seem to be at the very least a bad omen. And maybe a glimpse into some horrifying hellscape of the future. Seems fitting for the week.