When Luke gave me the news he told me that the parents had only been together one day. Luke now knows snakes work fast when it comes to reproduction. He seems very interested in having more snakes eventually. I can see him becoming a future herputol...herpatulo...damn, I don’t why I can’t spell herpetologist. You know, people who study snakes.
This whole episode got me thinking about the courtship rituals about the common garter snake. I mean, what does the male snake do to attract the female’s attention. Does he use pick up lines like, “Hey baby, I like the way you slither!” Or, “Ooh la, la! The stripes on your back are so sleek! You can wrap yourself around my tree branch anytime!”
I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that the female members of my audience have heard these lines at least once in a singles bar. If you have heard these lines, ladies, then allow me to offer my sincerest apologies from all the males in then world that are not jerks. Granted, that’s not many men, but hey, an apology from a tiny minority of people is a good start. Of course, if you have fallen for such lines, then may I suggest professional help...immediately!
I’m happy to see that Luke has an interest in snakes, because these animals have historically gotten a bum rap. They are universally reviled, even though they are an important part of the global ecosystem, or another link in the food chain, if you will. Snakes need all the friends – like Luke – that they can get.
This might be a good opportunity to review some basic misconceptions about our friend the snake. For example, it’s not true that they can grasp their tail by the mouth and roll themselves like a hoop to escape their enemies. This is false, although several snakes did carve out a lucrative career as moving targets in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show and Rodeo.
It’s also not true that snakes will swallow their young; in actuality, they prefer to barbecue them first, and then chow down. No, sorry, that’s not true either! Really, a snake barbecuing the children is so ludicrous. The snake has no hands; how would it hold the spatula to flip them over?
Then there is the oft-told story that snakes will “talk” to humans to do evil things and then lie to Congress about it. It’s very surprising how many people believe this to be 100% true and not see it as an allegory of the human condition. Naturally, we should all allow people to believe what they want to believe, except the part about lying to Congress. That part is totally 100% true.
Good luck to Luke and his new pets. I hope he takes good care of them and learns a lot about these reptiles in the meantime. I also hope he doesn’t teach them those ridiculous pick up lines. They really are an embarrassment to the male of every species.