Snake tales

A story I heard a while back…

Friend of friend driving along an unsealed country road. As is common in dry weather, the car was causing the dirt and rocks to go flying around. Driver had his arm out the window.

Something hit his arm. At first he thought it was a stick. He glanced into his mirror and saw a snake flying through the air.

Stopped the car and looked at his arm. Two puncture marks in it.

Went to hospital. The verdict was that although the snake bit him, no venom made it into his arm, so he was okay.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

6 replies on “Snake tales”

Hmmm sounds like a made up story to me. I mean its obvious. Snakes can’t fly (well except those snakes that travel on planes with Samuel L Jackson), they don’t have wings. Wait… unless they’ve worked out anti-gravity. God help us all! Flying snakes!

Sure, it’s a “friend of a friend” story, so I can’t verify it’s true. But if driving along a dirt road can cause rocks, dirt and sticks to fly around, why not snakes?

For me it’s just another reason to not hang your arm out of a car window.

The reason why sticks and rocks go flying is that they are hard and, given sufficient energy in the right place, use that energy up by lifting off from the ground. A snake, however, is much softer and will use any energy that a passing car gives it by deforming, i.e. flatsnake. Think about what happens if you drop a snake and a rock. The rock bounces back up a little. The snake just suffers internal injuries. The only way the snake could have gone flying is if it had been lying on a stick that had partially gone under the car and acted as a lever to throw the snake up in the air. Even if that had happened, there are four more problems. The first is that the car generally travels too quickly for things thrown up by the front wheels to hit the driver’s arm. How often do rocks and sticks hit driver’s arms in this situation, after all. Not often. The second problem is that for the snake to manage to bite the arm it must have been next to that arm for a little while rather than flying by. Fangs sit well hidden inside the mouth of the snake unless it is striking out, they are not like the tip of a spear that ends up buried in whatever the spear hits! Thirdly, if by some miracle the fangs did manage to puncture the arm, the physical action of driving the fangs into the body leads to pressure on the poison glands which releases the poison. Given the extra energy of the snake having been thrown into the arm, the poison would have shot into the guy’s body. Finally, if the fangs had punctured the body, the snake would have either stuck to the man or would have been ripped out again, leaving larger scars or ripped out fangs in the guy’s arm.
In short, what I think we have here is a classic furphy.

Hanging your arm out the window when a plastic rope goes whipping by will amputate your arm! To me that is a bigger reason not to hang your arm out of the window!!

A true snake story:

Several years ago in Florida USA my dad got up in the middle of the night to use the toilet. When he returned to the bedroom my mom commented that he came back very quickly. He then told her to go and look behind the toilet bowl to see the snake that was coiled up there and snoozing. My parents then opened the sliding patio door in their bedroom and calmly shushed the snake outside with a broom.

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