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Of course a Scout ought to know about snakes, because in almost all wild countries you come across plenty of them and many of them are dangerous.

Snakes sometimes creep into tents and under blankets, or into boots. You will always notice an old hand in snake country look very carefully through his blankets before he turns in at night, and shake out his boots in the morning before putting them on. I even find myself doing it now at home, just from habit.

Snakes don't usually like crawling over anything rough. So in India you often construct a kind of path, made of sharp, jagged stone, all round a house to prevent snakes crawling into it from the garden.

And on the prairie, hunters lay a hair rope on the ground in a circle round their blankets.

A hair rope has so many tiny spikes sticking out of it that it tickles the snake's tummy to such an extent be cannot go over it.

I used to catch snakes when I was at school by using a long stick with a small fork at the end of it. When I saw a snake I stalked him, jammed the fork down on his neck, and then tied him up the stick with strips of old handkerchief, and carried him back to sell to anybody who wanted a pet. But they are not good things to make pets of as a rule, because so many people have a horror of them, and it is not fair, therefore, to have them about in a house where people might get frightened by them.

Poisonous Snakes

Poisonous snakes carry their poison in a small bag inside their mouths. They usually have two fangs or long pointed teeth, which are on a kind of hinge. The fangs lie flat along the snake's gums till he gets angry and wants to kill something, then they stand on end, and he dives his head forward and strikes them into his enemy. As he does so, the poison passes out of the poison bag, or gland, into the two holes in the skin made by the fangs. This poison then gets into the veins of the man who has been bitten and is carried by the blood all over the body in a few seconds, unless steps are at once taken to stop it by binding the veins up and sucking the wound. Snake poison does no harm when swallowed.


Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell (Chief Scout, London, UK)

Date of Creation


Learn A Continuation:

to the next page: Insects

Back in The Past:

to the previous page: Fishes And Fishing

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