An “incessantly” barking dog led an Alabama couple to an epic snake battle in their yard, and it ended with the more dangerous of the two serpents — a copperhead — being swallowed whole.
It happened in Camden, Alabama, and video of the epic fight was shared on Facebook by the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division. “This is what happens when you bring a copperhead to a kingsnake fight,” the state agency wrote.
Copperheads are venomous and frequently send people to the hospital, but kingsnakes are immune and “readily eat copperheads, cottonmouths, and rattlesnakes,” Outdoor Alabama reports.
Karen Vick Scarbrough says the snake fight played out 75 feet from her back deck, and the barking dog was her German short-haired pointer.
“We went to investigate, as (the dog) had been bitten by a copperhead about a month before,” Scarbrough told McClatchy News.
“We were shocked when we realized it was two snakes. Growing up in the South, we had always heard this happens but had never witnessed it in person. The entire encounter lasted roughly an hour from the time we saw the two snakes until the kingsnake had completely eaten the copperhead.”
She recorded multiple videos that show the kingsnake spin itself around the copperhead and squeeze the life out of it. The copperhead is seen biting the kingsnake multiple times, with no impact. An additional video posted on her Facebook page shows the kingsnake shoving the lifeless copperhead down its throat.
Black “speckled” kingsnakes are constrictors (meaning they squeeze their prey) and can grow to about 5.5 feet, the state reports. That’s several inches longer than the average copperhead in Alabama, experts say.
Scarbrough’s video has been viewed 230,000 times and gotten hundreds of reactions and comments since being posted on Facebook on May 28. Many of the commenters say the video proves the value of allowing kingsnakes to thrive, while some have suggested Scarbrough needs to sell her home.
“That was crazy. Gave me the heebie jeebies,” one person posted on Facebook.
Scarbrough says she and her husband, Curtis, have “killed a couple of copperheads” near the house over the past few years. However, the video proves the yard is home to more than they realized, she says.
“I’m scared of snakes and have honestly believed the only good snake is a dead snake — until I saw this snake encounter,” she said. “I’ll always be mindful of what snake I’m encountering and will never kill a snake like the kingsnake.”