Evangeline Cummings initially assumed the strange rustling in her rose bush was a dead hanging snake. But before she could fully investigate, she spotted another snake weaving its way towards the tree, before climbing up and attacking its serpentine sibling, at which point she began filming.
It wasn’t long before a yellowjacket wasp joined the bizarre and violent backyard brawl.
Um ok, @UFEntomology and @MartaWayneUF , I believe I just witnessed a BEE ???? stinging a CORAL SNAKE ???? while the CORAL was dining on a RAT (?) SNAKE ???? and I need your support to process this. @UF #FloridaBackyardpic.twitter.com/djbJJGxaUk— Evangeline Cummings (@EvieCummings23) October 17, 2019
Cummings’ video has been viewed 51,400 times on Twitter alone and sparked fierce debate about what possessed the coral snake, which typically lives underground, to not only head out in broad daylight but also climb a tree.
By the way, I have this footage too from later that same day when the coral made its next attempt from the ground. (Seeing this rose bush moving all “by itself” drew me back outside to check it out!!) So the coral survived any wasp sting! And wasps seem to still be present. pic.twitter.com/Dk1z7GWpnr— Evangeline Cummings (@EvieCummings23) October 21, 2019
Meanwhile, herpetologist Emily Taylor from the California Polytechnic State University believes the wasp did in fact sting the snake, based on its extra wiggling. Yellowjacket wasps are notoriously (and needlessly) aggressive, and have been the subject of urban legends and online memes for years.
Many academics weighed in on the ferocious fight but among the general public, the consensus was one of revulsion.
pic.twitter.com/9whyEDN8l8— UF LATAM Studies (@LatamUF) October 18, 2019