Black Swan and Western Tiger Snake: a conflict avoidance encounter

On 1 April 2002, we observed a close encounter between a Western Tiger Snake Notechis scutatus and a Black Swan Cygnus atratus in the water at Herdsman Lake, Perth, Western Australia. Both species responded aggressively during the brief encounter. First, we surmise that the aggression displayed by both species was deliberate posturing rather than actual physical attacks. Second, we suggest that their mutual intention was to avoid combat because neither could be confident of winning.

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