Bizarre Tourist Spot: How the Canadian province of Manitoba became popular for thousands of mating snakes

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Tokyo has cherry blossoms, the Netherlands has tulip meadows, and Paris has itself to offer. But the Canadian province of Manitoba, on the other hand, has a surprisingly unusual springtime attraction: tens of thousands of amorous snakes wriggling in pits.

Although the Manitoba Tourism Board doesn’t promote Narcisse Snake Dens with the same zeal as Canada’s National Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, the annual garter snake mating ritual attracts thousands. , snake fans and snake phobes, in an otherwise neglected part. of the province for a few days each spring.

The best moments of watching The Serpents of Narcissus

(Photo: PAUL RATJE/AFP via Getty Images)


In the spring, tens of thousands of Red-sided Gartersnakes crawl out from their winter burrows in the Narcisse Snake Dens.

These snakes are preparing for their annual mating ritual.

Depending on the weather, this magnificent ceremony lasts one to three weeks in late April or early May, according to Manitoba’s official website.

Male snakes are usually the first to emerge and they wait patiently for females to do the same.

Male snakes are eager to mate with larger females as they emerge.

This desire can be seen in a “mating ball”, in which a female is surrounded by up to a hundred males.

The Narcisse Snake Dens have four active snake dens, with a 3.0 kilometer self-guided interpretive route connecting them.

Although gartersnakes are not dangerous, they are best viewed from viewing platforms placed near dens.

During spring and fall, the activity level of snake dens is updated every few days. When planning a trip to Narcissus, be sure to check the status.

Spring: The Narcisse Snake Dens are best visited in the latter part of April and the first three weeks of May. The snakes are obsessed with mating at this time and are easily observed by tourists.

The busiest time of year is usually Mother’s Day weekend.

At the beginning of September, the snakes return to their dens. They remain active and visible to visitors until cold, wet fall weather pushes them underground.

The ideal time to see snakes in the fall is on warm, bright days.

Read also : LOOK: Creepy ‘ball of snakes’ spotted along Greenway Trail

Narcissus is the hotspot for snake mating

The land near Narcissus is so attractive to snakes for the same reason that many farmers abandoned it decades ago: its thin topsoil sits on limestone that water has gradually worn away below, producing a network tiny caverns accessible by chasms.

It is the ideal winter habitat for snakes in a region that is known to be cold even in Canada.

The snakes’ spring eruption and the ten days they spend frolicking happily are weather dependent and difficult to predict.

Clouds, low temperatures and rain are all capable of keeping them buried.

“It may be the largest collection of snakes in the world,” said Professor Robert T. Mason, professor of integrative biology at Oregon State University, who has visited Narcissus every spring since 1982.

Otherwise, Narcissus is an almost deserted town.

The most notable features of the town are a long abandoned gas station adjacent to a collapsed ruin of a house.

Scientists, like Professor Mason, frequently conduct study on private land in smaller snake pit regions.

However, Manitoba’s wildlife department has created a park around what it likes to call snake dens – not “snake pits” – which are home to around 70,000 creatures throughout the winter.

Related article: WATCH: Reptile Enthusiast Breeds Extremely Rare Snake With Emoji Prints

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