Sex is the most important thing for any creatures for their reproduction but for some species, it is lethal too. Researchers found that during the mating season male garter snakes age faster than the rest of the year which makes their death near.
An international research team from the University of Sydney has made a research on the Red-sided garter snakes in North America. They have found a stressful reproductive strategy of male, shortens the length of the telomere. The protective DNA caps at the end of the chromosome is a biomarker of aging. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, males invest their intense energy in the process, while females prioritize their body maintenance.
In the journal of Proceedings of Royal Society B, researchers explained three main reasons for the death of male garter snakes. First of all mating season only stays for 2-4 weeks in a year so male spends all of the energy to execute. Secondly, thousands of male snakes use to compete for each other to get a chance to establish the mating process with the female, so most of the males get hurt or die during the fight. Lastly, While a male has to stay at orgy site for almost 21 days eating nothing, then the female only stays for one day.
Lead researcher Dr. Christopher R Friesen from University of Sydney said in a statement,“Although we believe that all females mate every year, they only stay at the den sites for a short period of one to three days, much less than males, who remain for at least a week and up to 21 days, which seems to result in males ageing faster and dying earlier than females”. Phys reported that a female garter snake can reproduce each year, but they have wildly different reproductive strategies.
They can store sperm for more than 15 months before using the sperm for fertilization.The reproduction rate of the female also depends on the reserved fat and energy. An another research team also made a research on their reproductive system at Manitoba, Canada and found the female garter snakes did not waste energy on looking after their babies postnatally. Unlike parenting approach of other snakes.