The fun thing about having naturalist friends – naturalist, not naturist; though Dave you do have a good all over tan – is being able to tap their actual proper expertise around animals from time to time.
A while back I got sent one of those rather silly internet rumours / stories / bits of nonsense about a giant snake that was unearthed in China. The snake, the story goes, was accidentally killed by two men driving a digger in the jungle and was a terrifying 16.7 metres or 55 feet long, weighed 300 kilograms and was estimated to be 140 years old. Check out the photo:
Yeah, the usual chain email stuff right. Though that snake is massive. I’m thinking Jennifer Lopez. I’m thinking Samuel L Jackson. Maybe Nicholas Cage as a world-weary giant snake hunter? Yep that’s a proper B-grade movie reptile right there…
So I laughed. But Dave – Dave, my wildlife biologist friend who sent those photos of the Australian lion – Dave couldn’t leave it alone and emailed his snake-expert friend Paul in the States, who promptly conducted the following series of photographic experiments with a rattlesnake that he happened to have rattling around in his freezer, and which he thawed out for the occasion. Cheers Paul!
Now, from the first photo we can see that Paul’s snake is what the ladies call ‘a good size’ – it’s no tiddler, but megashark and giant octopus aren’t losing their place at the box office quite yet. But, lo – watch what happens when Paul pulls the same cheap-arse trick that every fisherman knows and holds the animal up to the camera: instant giant snake!
Nice work Paul. I think that we can safely deduce that our giant internet snake from China is a just good sized python (a reticulated python?) which has been held way, waaaaay up to the camera on the end of that digger to make it look massive, and that it all just proves the old saying right: it’s not the size of your snake that counts – it’s what you do with it.