Photographed by Bette Jackson
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Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. While pygmy rattlesnakes are not social animals, they are aware of their neighbors and when it’s time to mate, a male follows the scent trail left by a female. When he catches up, he remains with her, perhaps guarding her from the attentions of other males. More than one male may follow a female's trail and reproduction in pygmy rattlesnakes often begins with competition between competing males and a ritualistic dance. This is often in late-fall and is in the presence of a female that the males are interested in. One male, trying to establish dominance over another, lifts his body off the ground then lunges forward toward his adversary. With bodies entwined, they thrash each other against the ground. These combat dances may last minutes or hours. In the end, the losing snake just untangles itself from the dominant snake who has won the right to mate. Female pygmy rattlesnakes do not lay eggs, they're live-bearers; they give birth to four to eight babies, usually in August. A female and her babies may stay within a few feet of one another for a few days, often until the young have shed their skin for the first time. Then they're on their own.'With the Wild Things' is produced at the Whitaker Center in the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. For 'The Wild Things', I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson.