Carpet Pythons Fight During Mating Season at Sunshine Coast Home

A snake catcher in Queensland was called to break up a pair of male carpet python snakes found fighting in the yard of a Sunshine Coast home.

Footage posted to Facebook shows Stuart McKenzie from Sunshine Coast Snake Catchers 24/7 approach the sparring reptiles. McKenzie said the snakes were likely fighting over a female snake nearby.

In the video, McKenzie describes the differences between mating and fighting and said how the behavior of these particular snakes meant they are fighting. “They are trying to push each other’s head’s down. It’s just a domination thing,” he said.

Writing about the incident on Facebook, McKenzie warned the public to be vigilant of the upcoming carpet python mating season.

“We are only weeks away from the breeding season starting and the weather slowly warming back up. Male snakes will be on the move looking for a female but also looking to fight with any other male snakes that get in their way.,” McKenzie said. Credit: Stuart McKenzie via Storyful

Video transcript

STUART MCKENZIE: At this time, it sounds like we got two, possibly three large carpet pythons. Now, we are at the start of breeding season. So it does make sense. Could be two males, could be a male and a female-- I'm not too sure yet. But he's keeping an eye on them. Apparently, they're massive. So we're going to go out there, have a wrangle, and relocate them elsewhere, as they've got small kids and small pets.

- [INAUDIBLE], but, you know, [INAUDIBLE] house.

STUART MCKENZIE: So it's two big males.

- Yeah, [INAUDIBLE].

STUART MCKENZIE: Yeah, so, basically, what they're doing is they're trying to push each other's heads down. And it's just like a domination thing. So whoever can push the other one's head down--

[DOG BARKS]

There we go. Yeah, so nice size snakes.

- Wow.

STUART MCKENZIE: [INAUDIBLE] no biting, though. Yeah, so it's definitely two males. It's one of the easiest ways, obviously, to tell if they're male or female. Often people ask us that.

- Yeah.

STUART MCKENZIE: But, yeah, a lot of people think that what they were just doing is actually mating.

- Yeah.

STUART MCKENZIE: So it's not. So mating is very different. Basically, if they were lying similarly with their tails curled around each other, but then no head lifting off the ground, none of that sort of movement, so just lying there, a little bit of jolting, and a bit of vibration, and that sort of stuff--

- Yeah.

STUART MCKENZIE: --and a bit of shivering, it kind of looks like, that's more what, yeah, the breeding and the mating looks like. Whereas, what they were doing there is definitely fighting. Here they are. All right. I'll chuck them in the bag and get them out of here.

- So you'll take them down the park?

STUART MCKENZIE: Yeah, take them for a drive.

- Ooh, [INAUDIBLE] thought I could encourage them across the road with a-- with a broom [INAUDIBLE].

STUART MCKENZIE: Sort it out in there, boys. Just arrived in a lovely little spot here to release these two male carpet pythons-- try and get them out so everybody can have a look at them again. Like I said before-- didn't really explain it the best. But when you see two snakes, and they're up on each other, and they're doing this, rolling over the top, trying to push each other down, it's definitely a sign of two males combating.

A lot of people think it is mating or a male and a female, but that behavior is definitely two males combating. I haven't yet-- I've yet to get some actual good footage of snakes mating. And when I do, I'll put them in a video together, so people can see the difference. But they're not a bad size-- medium-sized snakes. Where's your head? There you go. Nice little snakes, but we'll get them back out in the bush where they belong.

[LEAVES CRACKLING]

So the whole thing will just go through.

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