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Ménage à trois (part 2)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

(if you haven't already, see part 1)

When we left our 3 gophersnakes, Bluto had just interrupted courtship between Popeye and Olive Oyl and was biting Popeye repeatedly along his body. Popeye released his bite-grip on Olive Oyl and she fled so fast that we were unable to follow. Bluto continued biting Popeye, making him to wince but not retaliate. Instead, Popeye seeks refuge in a nearby burrow. In his fervid biting, Bluto barely notices that Popeye has escaped, actually biting himself a couple times by mistake. Finally realizing that his competitor is sidelined, Bluto resumes searching for Olive Oyl, who had a 2 ½ minute head start.

Bluto appears to be in a hurry, and while he initially showed brief reactions to close encounters with us, he no longer expresses concern. He flicks his tongue almost continuously, halting almost imperceptibly several times a second to deliver particles into his mouth. Undoubtedly, Bluto is following traces of Olive Oyl, but apparently her trail is not clear. He travels in wide loops, backtracks, and even ascends a pine tree. Perhaps Olive Oyl has passed through this area more than once. And the wind must make his search even harder!

Popeye’s urges can wait no longer. We find him peering from the burrow only 3 minutes after entering. After five more minutes, he locates Olive Oyl’s scent trail, and heads off in the same direction as the other two.

He appears to be a little more careful than Bluto, pausing to hone in on the path ahead. We try to keep tabs on both males as they move about, but we are distracted by a beautiful rattlesnake and Popeye slips away.


After about an hour Popeye reappears, coming within just a few meters of Bluto. He appears to pass Bluto, and we again lose him as he cruises on through the vegetation. Finally, at 1417, 80 minutes after we last saw her, we find Olive Oyl being courted by Popeye on open ground beneath a tree, 113 meters NE of their roadside rendezvous (see part 1). Moments later, Bluto finds the pair, Olive Oyl slips away, and conflict begins anew.

In a repeat of part 1, Popeye is first to find and court Olive Oyl, but they are interrupted by latecomer Bluto, and the female flees. With an enduring calm, Popeye once again slips from Bluto's sway.

To be concluded...


Bree said...

How do you get your videos so big? Is it because you are using Vimeo?

SocialSnakes said...

These videos were taken on a HD camcorder, so that is partly why they're so big. I'm not sure what youtube's rules are, but we paid for unlimited HD uploads on vimeo.

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