Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Snake Among Lawyers, Stockbrokers, Accountants, And Other Scoundrels

"There's a big snake in the plane, Jock!"
"Oh, that's just my pet snake Reggie!"
"I hate snakes, Jock! I hate 'em!"
"Come on! Show a little backbone, will ya?"

And so, after narrowly escaping a cave full of deathtraps, a tribe of angry natives, and a sneaky competitor who, in the long run, will get what's coming to him, Indiana Jones is revealed to not only be one of the definitive heroes of movie history, but to be afraid of snakes.

In the last few days, a cobra in the Bronx Zoo has become famous, for escaping. She's an adolescent snake, and it seems she eluded her keepers for several days before being found within the confines of the Reptile House. Zoo officials were, predictably, quite reassuring throughout. They noted that the cobra would only strike if provoked, and mentioned that the snake wouldn't be hungry (these critters don't eat that often), all the while trying to tempt the little thing out with the bait of mice for a snack.

During her time on the run, she's gotten a lot of followers. Someone at Twitter started up a BronxZooCobra identity and posted lots of updates from the snake's point of view. Conan O'Brien placed a cobra puppet into his band for a skit. Rumor of the cobra running for President remain unsubstantiated.

Norma and I chatted about the notion of a cobra loose in New York City, and the kinds of things it might do. On its own, in New York, which of course is ground zero for snakes of an entirely different sort. I mean the two legged ones. Lawyers, accountants, stockbrokers, agents, publishers, politicians, the list is endless. We agreed that Charlie Sheen would try to have the snake become his sidekick, and that it might run for mayor of the Big Apple against Mayor Bloomberg, who, Norma has long since decided, is an asp... or was that ass?

Inevitably had it gone on much longer, there would have been photoshop images of the cobra. We'd have seen the cobra standing in for Lee Harvey Oswald and getting shot by Jack Ruby. The cobra as Tiger Woods' caddy. The cobra on the moon.

Instead, she's back in the care of her keepers, and because of her popularity, the zoo's planning on holding a naming contest for her. Norma thinks Eden is a good one (as in Garden of...).

What is it about snakes that seem to get to a lot of people? People talk about fears of snakes, how creepy they seem. These critters have been getting a bad rep since man first noticed that reptile slithering across his cave while trying to figure out how to make a wheel.

They're found in many parts of the world, with a great variety. Many of them are shy and elusive. Some are venomous, others use constriction to get their dinner into a more... edible form. The joke in Australia is that the continent has 200 kinds of snakes. 199 of them are venomous. The one that's not will just eat you whole.

I rather like them. They keep the mice population in check, which is a very good thing, by the way. On the odd occasion during hiking or climbing, I'll come across them sunning themselves on a clifftop, and I've always thought of it as a treat to see them. Still, some people find their skin crawling at just the mention of the word snake. How peculiar.

Aren't they adorable?


  1. You know, like Indy, I've always been terrified of snakes, but this whole incident was funny...maybe because it's over a thousand miles away...

    I'm going to miss those tweets, though....

    Terrific blog to honor the snake of the hour!

  2. Thanks to living in the great state of Texas I have a healthy respect and fear for snakes. And nightmares.

  3. Up until you mentioned that the cobra had been found, I was going to ask if the cobra could swim....I'd be keeping my eye out for it...

    However, I think I'd rather have the snake with no legs than the snake with two...any day!!!

    BTW, I like the boas...not the biting kind...ick!

  4. We've got nice venomous red snakes living in the brook near my mother's house.

  5. Norma has the right name. Poor snake wanted out for a stroll. Smart little thing. I am not fond of any snake. They just move way to quickly for me.

  6. I will miss the very funny updates that have been posted about her travels.

    Where I live in Tucson we have lots of snakes and Gila Monsters that could fill in for snakes...
    I had to put up some snake fencing so "The Two Square Ones" could be somewhat protected when they are outside.
    Even then I have rescued a King snake from my pool and a huge one that somehow got in the yard. We herded him with a broom to outside my small yard.
    I like the King Snakes, they eat Rattlesnakes and the Pack Rats that live in this area. I really see no use for Rattlesnakes and Scorpions.

    cheers, parsnip

  7. One thing I've learned since my fiancee bought her ball python is that it has absolutely no interest in biting me or anyone -- it just wants to be somewhere warm. I'm not sure if I ever told her that the first time I held her python is also the first time I ever touched *any* snake.

  8. Snakes are beautiful creatures.

    I'm glad Cobra gal is safe in her zoo enclosure. Now all panic over the danger and those rumors about her having crafted shivs and other weapons while on the run can be put to rest.

  9. I hadn't heard of the loose cobra. Wow. How funny... I mean, they do actually live outside of captivity... just not in NYC. lol
    I've always liked snakes too. I had a 5ft red tail boa when I was in college. I used to take him with the clubs to me, wear him around my neck. I tell my hubby that story and he thinks I'm nuts.
    But a different boa but me once and it hurt like mad--they have razor-like teeth in those mouths. I had to rip the thing off my hand and I was gushing in blood. Youch. Even so, I still like them. They're beautiful in their own way, but it's no wonder they've been considered devilish since the Garden of Eden.

  10. I'm very creeped out by snakes. Yuck! I could barely look at all the picturessssssssss.

  11. I think they've gotten a bad rep every since the Garden of Eden, and then it just continued from there with movies that depicted them as much more vicious than they actually are. I'm fine with them if they stay outta my way, and if I stay outta theirs they usually do.

  12. I don't have a problem with snakes. I think they're actually really elegant~especially cobras.

  13. I'm not crazy about snakse, but they don't terrify me. I'm much more terrified of big, ugly bugs!

  14. Nope. Not into snakes or vampire bunnies.

  15. I don't really mind snakes, either. Can't say I love them, but I'd prefer them to earwigs or silverfish.

  16. Ha ha! Yeah, Charlie sheen needs it for a sidekick for sure.
    I don't know...I hate bugs of course. But I've never thought snakes we scary. I think they're cool, and some of them look really beautiful to me, with all of their different colors. But those really freak me out!


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