WATCH: Rattlesnakes engaged in ‘combat dance’ caught on camera in Washington County, Va.


WASHINGTON COUNTY, Va. (WJHL) — A local guided hiking company shared an encounter even the most avid outdoors people might never witness in a lifetime.

Justin Harris, a biology graduate and co-owner of Abingdon-based White Blaze Outdoors, videoed the duo sizing each other up to determine which one is the dominant timber rattlesnake.

Harris told News Channel 11 he captured the video on August 8, in Washington County, Virginia.

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (VDWR) shared the ritualistic combat dance, stating that the competition is observed in all three of Virginia’s venomous snakes — copperhead, cottonmouth and timber rattlesnake.

Males face each other with the upper body raised and intertwine necks while attempting to push the other down to establish dominance.

The superior rattler wins mating privileges with a nearby female, according to VDWR. The wildlife agency said that while it’s widely believed these snakes are more aggressive during mating season, this is folklore.

White Blaze Outdoors provides guided hiking tours from Erwin, Tennessee to Wytheville, Virginia.

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