She-male garter snakes: Some like it hot | Science News

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She-male garter snakes: Some like it hot

3:08pm, November 14, 2001

Male garter snakes limping out of hibernation in northern Manitoba can mimic females and drive dozens of other guys to wriggle over them. The force behind this deluded orgy may not be sex, though.

Until now, scientists presumed that female mimicry gives its perpetrators an edge in mating, explains Rick Shine of the University of Sydney in Australia. But there's no evidence for any mating advantages for the "she-male" garter snakes, nor do scientists know how these awakening snakes attract other males.

The fakery needs a new explanation, argue Shine and his colleagues in the Nov. 15 Nature. They propose that these snakes creeping out of 8 months of chilled inac

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