Our friend Nicki has acquired a Radiated Rat Snake (Elaphe s.l. radiata). Here are some things that have been written about the temperament of this species.
Bartlett and Bartlett, Corn Snakes and Other Rat Snakes (1996): “When even vaguely threatened, the radiated [rat snake] (so-called for the three dark lines that radiate outward from the eye) pulls is neck back, inflates its throat, and vigorously defends itself.”
Schulz, A Monograph of the Colubrid Snakes of the Genus Elaphe Fitzinger (1996):
The snake is very fast if it becomes necessary to flee and shows an amazingly aggressive temperament if cornered: The front part of the body is inflated vertically, bent into a double S-shape, and lifted off the ground. With the mouth agape and short hissing sounds, it literally leaps at the aggressor who may even [be] pursued for some distance. If the snake is picked up, it often empties its bowels and bites[;] the bitten part is often chewed on for a while.
Not for the faint of heart! Which is to say, me. (Nicki knows what she’s doing, though.)
Just finished reading Charles C. Mann’s 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus. Despite the title’s superficial resemblance to Menzies’s 1421 (a crackpot theory that the Chinese discovered America), Mann’s 1491 is a serious survey of new research on pre-Columbian Native Americans. The new, emerging consensus can be summarized as follows.