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The Headless, Skinnless Snake


Hubby and I recently started watching Man, Woman, Wild. If you’re not familiar with the show, the Man (Mykel) part of the equation a  ex-Special Forces with a knack for survival. The Woman is his lovely wife (Ruth) who is a TV anchor. Put them in the Wild, and you get the making for a hilarious and dangerous TV series.

In one of the episodes, Mykel kills a small rattlesnake, beheads it, skins it, and roasts it over a fire. Well, before it succumbs to the flames, the headless, skinless snake wriggled and moved all over the place. It didn’t seem like random electrical impulses. In fact, it reminded me of one of the most terrifying things I have ever seen.

When I was around 6 or 7, my dad killed a large rattlesnake (I assume it’s a prairie rattler since those are pretty common). He chopped its head off , buried it, and skinned the snake. I can vividly remember seeing the heart still beating, even though the animal didn’t have a head or skin! Well, being the curious blooming biologist, I wasn’t afraid but rather curious. My mom told me that it was just nerves and it would stop soon. Dad tossed the carcass on the ground and one of our two cats (Cloud or Fluffy…no idea which) was terrible curious and moved closer to the wiggling white hunk of meat.

This is where things begin to get scary…

The skinless, headless snake coiled, reared up, and STRUCK at the cat coming toward it.

I kid you not. *shudder*

THAT definitely wasn’t just spontaneous electrical impulses. This was purposeful movement, designed to protect itself from a threat. After the cat backed off, the snake slithered through the grass and toward the peach tree. I have no idea what happened to the damn thing after that.

I’m sure everyone has heard it said that a snake doesn’t die until the sun goes down. I can certainly see where this came from, seeings how the damn thing I saw was fully moving after being dead for a number of hours. It’s been shown that electrical impulses can travel through the snake’s nervous system for up to 12 hours. I bet this is where the old tale comes from.

After witnessing the headless, skinless snake rearing up and striking at my cat, I wonder if it really DID take until sundown for that reptile to die…

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5 Comments on “The Headless, Skinnless Snake”

  1. Rebecca Byfield April 9, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

    Think you just made me hate snakes even more than I already did.

  2. Cimarron West April 10, 2012 at 9:31 pm #

    I was very little- maybe 3 or so and I still picture this very clearly. I think this is where my fear of snakes comes from. That was so freaky!!!

    • shayfabbro April 11, 2012 at 7:19 am #

      I know, right??? It wasn’t just random twitching! It was deliberate movements meant to bite Cloud or Fluffy! lol

  3. corajramos April 11, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    This sounds like the start to a horror movie. Now you’ve given me something else to worry about. eeeew!

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