Until they came through the fence and tumbled down the hill toward the house, it was an abstract phenomenon, like watching the nature channel. Sometimes they raised their upper bodies into mirror image s-curves, then twirled and twisted, came apart and faced each other down, entwined themselves together, and rolled and wrestled, snake-style on the ground. We stood and watched, utterly riveted. It was somehow both beautiful and creepy.
We thought it was a mating dance, but later learned it is a ritual between two males to establish dominance. The victor gets to mate with the female that must have been nearby. Yikes. A potential new family. It was troubling to see them expanding their range almost to our front steps.
“Here’s something I learned a long time ago,” said Doug, who happened to be here working. “You have to declare a perimeter. There’s outside and there’s inside, and you get to decide what’s okay to be in with you and what’s not. Rats, black widows, rattlesnakes…out. These two? They are now officially inside your perimeter.”