Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Hey, Mom, look what I found
I know I promised something perverse and unwholesome (i.e., smutty), but my inner 9-year-old boy just can't wait to show you this really cool snakeskin that we brought home from the woods today. My inner 12-year-old boy, who is in charge of dirty pictures, will have to wait his turn.
I'm pretty sure this is from a plain ol' rat snake, utterly harmless and unexotic. It's fairly big, nearly 30 inches long. I don't often see them this size, all in one piece, but it's not unusual to see small ones along the trail. Sometimes they're still slightly moist. (Am I grossing you out?) Nothing's moist around here right now, but I'm sure this skin was just shed, because I was on the same trail yesterday.
I have a weakness for all nature's relics of transformation. I love finding cicada shells, old cocoons, wasp's nests. The downside of being a mammal is that our growth lacks drama. We shed a few teeth, and that's about it.
If snakes make you shudder, consider this: Snake bites kill about a dozen people in the US every year. Dog attacks kill about twice that many. (Don't tell Kobi.) Snake hatred is pure bigotry and superstition.
I could preach on that a while, but I'll spare you. There are actually plenty of snake lovers out there, always have been. Here's a snippet of Ben Franklin's famous paean to the rattlesnake. (Click here to read it all.)
"I recollected that her eye excelled in brightness, that of any other animal, and that she has no eye-lids. She may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance. She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage. As if anxious to prevent all pretensions of quarreling with her, the weapons with which nature has furnished her, she conceals in the roof of her mouth, so that, to those who are unacquainted with her, she appears to be a most defenseless animal; and even when those weapons are shown and extended for her defense, they appear weak and contemptible; but their wounds however small, are decisive and fatal. Conscious of this, she never wounds 'till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of treading on her."
And for your viewing pleasure, here's Fluffy the Python, taking it all off. Enjoy.