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Saturday, January 28, 2023

BEEP BEEP – Witness a Diamondback Rattlesnake Face Off Against a Roadrunner

Few animals evoke images of the American West like the rattlesnake and the roadrunner. Rattlesnakes are quite synonymous with the deserts of the west and are featured in nearly every cowboy western and any other media based in the region. Even more, locals know that these snakes aren’t just scary on screen, they are scary in real life! The roadrunner, although not as ubiquitous in regards to the western trope, still has enough media presence to solidify itself as one of the staple animals of the region. Who doesn’t know the infamous “BEEP BEEP” that always sounds off after a certain coyote is, yet again, foiled?

Although these animals are quite different, they actually encounter one another quite often. In fact, the roadrunner is a regular predator of snakes in the region, particularly venomous ones like the rattlesnake. Despite never being caught in the cartoon, the life of a snake-eating roadrunner is significantly more dangerous and fraught with peril than we would think!

In a recent video, we see just how intense a showdown between the region’s deadliest snake and the most conniving bird can truly be. The western diamondback is the largest rattlesnake in the region and is rarely disturbed by any animal that knows its danger. Still, despite the danger, the roadrunner is hungry enough to risk it all.

In the video, we see the roadrunner spot the snake and move in for the kill. Sneaking up like a feline, the roadrunner attempts to approach the snake without alerting it to its presence. Despite the attempt, the heat-sensing pits and superb senses of the snake are able to “sniff” the bird out.

After it’s been made, the roadrunner gives up all pretexts of a stealthy kill. Boldy approaching, the roadrunner readies itself for the attack. The only way that the roadrunner wins this fight is if it’s able to grab the back of the snake’s head and “bash its skull in”.

A western diamondback has enough venom to kill multiple humans, let alone a small bird. If the kill is going to happen, it’s got to be perfect. Still, the undaunted bird moves in closer. The courage of the roadrunner on video is evidence that backs up Native American beliefs about the animals. Ancient peoples revered the bird for its abilities and courage, but does it have what it takes to kill a deadly snake?

With tensions at a boiling point, it finally all dissipates. The snake moves off into the nearby brush, making a reasonable attack from the roadrunner impossible. Like many encounters in nature, the showdown between two powerful creatures ends in a draw.

The snake gets away with its life, and the roadrunner goes off to look for other potential lunch items – maybe this time it will find something a little more docile and without fangs and deadly venom? Who knows!

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