Gayish: homosexuality and snake orgies. Why snakes have a hidden hissssstory as gay rights trailblazers

Author: Gayish

Gayish on GLUE: Two homosexuals, unpacking queer stereotypes one at a time.


It’s not natural!” is an argument that gets thrown in LGBTQ people’s faces far too often.


It’s also wildly inaccurate. Homosexual and bisexual behavior has been found in over 450 different animal species.


Of the many options, snakes are an interesting creature to explore given the wide variety of ‘gayish behaviors’ the various species exhibit.

And also given their history of being used as queer-coded Disney villains.


So what’s so gay about snakes?

Species like the gopher snake and the speckled rattlesnake show courtship and partnership between male snakes, according to the National Museum Wales.


When male gopher snakes bond, one of the males may take on the female role. For speckled rattlesnake, fights between the same sex can lead to romantic partnership, a real-life enemies-to-lovers romance playing out in nature.

Gay Pride Snakes by Dartty on DeviantArt

No to be outdone (or out-gayed), red-sided garter snakes have what Vice described as a “yearly snake fuckfest.” After hibernating, these snakes gather in pits for a massive orgy at the Narcisse Snake Densin Manitoba, Canada.


It can last for weeks, and while the intent seems to be for mating, the male snakes will sometimes continue the orgy long after the female has left.


On the opposite side of the spectrum, the flowerpot snake is a species of entirely female, asexually-reproducing snake. Their form of reproduction is more formally called “parthenogenesis,” which most commonly occurs in lower plants and invertebrates like ants, wasps, and bees, and does not require fertilization for reproduction.


And finally, because humans can’t keep our hands out of it, scientists found that boosting the estrogen in male garter snakes attracted other male snakes for mating. Because snakes prefer larger partners for reproduction, male snakes often preferred the estrogen-infused snakes to the smaller female snakes.

We can find almost the whole LGBTQ+ spectrum in just snakes, much less the full animal kingdom. Clearly, being gay is the most natural option we have.


To hear more about snakes, including the gay/evil undertones, the euphemisms (à la one-eyed snake), and the post-Stonewall raid of the “Snake Pit” gay bar, listen to the latest episode of Gayish, available on Apple PodcastsSpotify, or your podcatcher of choice.


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