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Want to watch a whipsnake war dance?

Our Apudthama conservation manager was lucky enough to capture this mesmerizing performance on camera!

Watch the video below.

These two male lesser black whip snakes (Demansia vestigiata) were filmed recently on the Apudthama Reserve in Cape York coiling around each other and performing a dance-like behavior as part of a mating ritual.  Known as "male combat" or "male-male combat", the dance is a form of competition between males for access to females.


This behavior can involve coiling around each other, pushing, and sometimes even wrestling to establish hierarchy and determine which one will have the opportunity to mate with a receptive female (who will likely be waiting nearby for the victor).

 Moderately venomous, lesser black whip snakes are found in the northern parts of Queensland, the Northern Territory, and Western Australia, as well as in PNG.


A fast slender snake with a fine tapering tail, whip snakes can usually be found in drier habitats where they feed chiefly on small vertebrates, especially lizards. The body is olive-brown to black above, sometimes flushed with red, and the scales have a dark edge.


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