By Ann Schmidt
Published May 23, 2019
Both snakes were estimated to be between 6 and 7 feet long, according to The Charlotte Observer.
Carolina Waterfowl Rescue, a nonprofit animal rescue agency, posted a video of the rarely-seen fight Tuesday on Facebook.
“Two male rat snakes are having a wrestling match to determine who gets the female. It's funny that even their territorial battles are harmless,” the video's caption reads.
According to the Observer, the fight went on for several minutes, but neither snake was injured. Staff at the rescue agency said they believe the snakes met as they followed the pheromones released by a female.
“The video is awesome and we were lucky to get it,” Keenan Scott Freitas, a reptile rehabilitator at Carolina Waterfowl Rescue, told the newspaper.
“You don’t get to see that in the wild too often. I was shocked and amazed at the same time by it. It’s usually the type of thing you only see on National Geographic” Freitas added. “That’s because they are terrified of humans and usually flee when they see one. They don’t stick around and continue to fight.”
Rat snakes are non-venomous and typically found in fields and woodlands across the country, including Connecticut, the Carolinas, Kansas and Oklahoma, per the National Wildlife Federation.
“Black rat snakes are excellent swimmers and climbers. They will use these skills to catch a variety of food, from bird eggs to frogs,” the federal agency says online. “They are the snake most likely to be seen around buildings hunting for rodents, amphibians, and young birds. Black rat snakes are constrictor snakes and will use their body to suffocate their prey.”
According to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, rat snakes mate in late May and early June.