"Snake Eyes" in the game of Craps
World Snake Day
Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day
Today's Musings, History & Folklore
"Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake." ~ W. C. Fields
July 16th is World Snake Day, a day of education about snakes and their place in the ecosystem. There are about 3,458 species of snakes known so far, ranging from the semi-frozen tundra of northern Canada to the steamy jungles of the equator and most of the world’s oceans.
There is even a Rattlesnake appreciation day, the renamed former Rattlesnake "Roundups Day," in which rattlesnakes were rounded up in the Southwest United States (but definitely not for appreciation).
Although it may be hard for many people to appreciate snakes and rattlesnakes in the traditional sense, appreciation can take the form of learning to safely coexist or travel in areas with rattlesnakes.
In the Western United States, there are eleven species of rattlesnakes. The types of rattlesnakes most often encountered are the western diamondback, western rattlesnake, mohave, blacktail and sidewinder. All of these snakes have rattles on their tails and, though many snakes will vibrate their tails when nervous, only the rattlesnakes can produce the characteristic buzzing noise. The scientific name, Crotalus, derives from the Greek word for "castanet".
Rattlesnake bites are the leading cause of snakebite injuries in North America. However, rattlesnakes rarely bite unless provoked or threatened, and if treated promptly, bites are rarely fatal. Rattlesnakes, despite their predominance in classic cowboy films, don't even come close to the top of the list of dangerous and venomous snakes.
Snake-free countries are Antarctica, Ireland, Newfoundland and New Zealand. And if you exclude seasnakes, you can dance snake-free in Iceland, Cape Verde, New Zealand, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Marshall Islands, and Vatican City.
Rattlesnake can be eaten. Methods of preparation vary. Author Maud Newton, following a recipe by Harry Crews, described the taste, "at least when breaded and fried, like a sinewy, half-starved tilapia."
If not to your fancy, instead, why not mix yourself a "Rattlesnake Cocktail," a frothy egg-white topped sweet and sour cocktail from the London Savoy Hotel of the 1930s, which claims claim that "it will either cure a rattlesnake bite, or kill rattlesnakes, or make you see them." For the recipe, click the snake cartoon!
Then, see Performance of the dance below by the Telheiras Scottish Country Dance Group In The Jardim Da Luz In Lisbon, 2014, which includes a slithering "snake pass" variation.