Snake sex. It’s the guilty thought that’s slithered through all our minds at some point in our lives or the other. How do they do it? Missionary? Doggy? Reverse cowgirl? Who knows. Anyway, this article isn’t really about the sexual escapades of the long and hissy. Not exactly anyway.

If you follow the Discovery channel or David Attenborough and the like, you might be aware that male snakes don’t exactly follow the regular mating practises that lizards and birds display, such as defending a territory and driving off competing males. They’re smaller than females, so they usually just sneak their way into a female’s genital tract. Or so we thought. In truth, we actually know a lot less than assumed about the mating rituals of snakes. It was thought that females had a passive role in the process, that they were submissive during courtship.

Buzzfeed

This however, appears to be false, according to the BBC. Most female snakes are larger than their male counterparts, with female anacondas being around 4.7 times larger than the males. That’s a massive difference, and apparently, it’s because size is linked to increased fertility and bigger and healthier offspring.

Flickr

But that’s not all, it seems male snakes like ’em big and like ’em chunky, if research is to be believed. In several cases, researchers noticed that males ignored a number of viable but smaller females in order to mate with one larger female. Also, contrary to popular belief, it’s believed females aren’t just submissive in the courtship process, but actively initiate it by releasing pheromones that attracts males (read: drives them freakin’ wild).

Prezi

Another point of contention is regarding mating patterns. It was thought that one male mates with several females, but in reality, a female might mate with several mates as well, sometimes even at the same time. These snake orgies can go on for months, until the female decides which partner would be the strongest mate. Hell, a single garter snake female might even be pursued by up to a 100 males, who slither on top of each other and form a ‘mating ball’. Also, male anacondas sometimes get eaten by the females after mating, following which they’re sometimes puked out so they become lighter and faster. 

So there you go, that’s all the snake sex information there is for today and honestly, it’s probably a wee bit more information than you, or I, can handle. Happy nightmares!