Park visitor Elizabeth Sharf took this extraordinary video on the north side of Cesar Chavez Park. It shows two Pacific Gopher Snakes (Pituophis catinefer catinefer) mating. We can see a fair amount of animals mating on TV and YouTube. Most of their intercourse seems empty of joy. Bird sex is a matter of a second or two. Lionesses being mounted don’t look like they’re enjoying it, and sometimes they’re getting mauled in the bargain. Baboons in the zoo do it quick and dirty. I haven’t seen any mammals other than us featherless bipeds who can show anything resembling passion, enjoyment, or love in the act of carnal coupling. What a revelation, then, to see a pair of snakes — animals that we think of as cold-blooded, incapable of emotion, remote from eroticism other than as a metaphor — give a master class in passionate, loving sexual intercourse. How affectionately they rub their heads together! How they twist their entire bodies into a braid! How they clench and then explode! This is better sex than most people ever have. This video requires a total reset of our thinking about snakes. They’re hot!
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