Saturday, January 20, 2007

Kelloggs Sheds His Skin

Reading about Dr John Harvey Kellogg makes me quite glad we named our snake after him. We were having problems choosing a name and, since our snake is a Corn Snake, finally hit on Kelloggs Corn Snake – for anyone who thinks that puns are not the most hilarious form of language, then this is probably the proof you were seeking.

Our snake came to us when it was the size of a pencil, in 1999, and is now fully-grown at about four feet six inches long. It is extremely good-natured and spends its time thinking profound thoughts about the nature of the universe – well, probably - and eating two defrosted frozen mice about every two weeks. Just in case you think that doesn’t sound very often, I think I should point out that snakes, being cold-blooded, don’t need to make their own heat – we have a lamp and a heat mat for that – so they don’t tend to fancy hot soup or a nice cup of hot tea, and they don’t need to eat as much as we do, which is probably why they have never developed a taste for chocolate.

Today Kelloggs shed his skin. This happens every couple of months – the snake goes really dark in colour beforehand and looks very fed up: as, indeed, would we if our skin was too small. For once, we saw the skin-shedding happen and I took some photographs. The old skin, which is transparent, just peels back, leaving a bright shiny new one underneath.

Here’s the skin peeling back:

and here is Kelloggs, who didn’t seem to mind the camera at all.

If you can't work out what you're looking at, the long thin black stuff is for him to climb on - like a fake vine - and there's a log in the foreground. Kellogg's head is about three quarters of the way along the bottom and then a quarter of the way up, and then his body goes off to the left from his head.

I have often heard “he’s a real snake” used as a term of abuse, meant to encapsulate a snake’s perceived qualities of deceitfulness and sneaking-up-ness. Actually, snakes aren’t deceitful – they just haven’t the brains. It’s not really their fault that they tend to sneak up on things – what else can they do, so low down with no legs?

But, having read about Dr John Harvey Kellogg with his ridiculous and deeply stupid – and if there is such a thing as evil, then evil – opinions about perfectly natural human behaviour, I think “he’s a real Kellogg” would be a far better term of abuse than “he’s a real snake.”


Blogger John said...

yaraagh! Yet more reasons to avoid snakes.

1:41 pm  
Anonymous Emily said...

Thanks to the article about Kellogg, I'm renaming the snake. We've decided upon Hissing Sid out of whatever the book is. I mean it.

9:58 pm  

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