Puff Adders mating

Puff Adders mating by Matt Meyer

Puff Adders mating by Matt Meyer

Matt Meyer captured this week’s fascinating video of two Puff Adders mating. The male snake is the one doing most of the moving, while the female remains fairly static, slithering slowly forward throughout their “mating ritual”.

During the mating season, in late winter or spring, female Puff Adders will leave a pheromone scent trail to attract male suitors. Sometimes multiple males will follow the trail and often males will engage in wrestling to establish dominance. The male snake approaches a receptive female, places his head on her back, winds his tail around hers and attempts to join their cloacas together. Once this is achieved, he attaches himself to her with a barbed penis, and the pair will move around attached to one another for quite some time. Mating in these snakes is a lengthy affair often lasting for two or three hours.

Puff Adders are viviparous and females will give birth to on average 20 – 30 live baby snakes. However, large specimens have been known to produce up to 150 young at a time; the largest number of young produced by any snake species in the world.

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