Pythons are a cold-blooded killers. Motionless, camouflaged to its surroundings, a python will lie in wait for an unsuspecting victim to pass by. Then, with speed and agility surprising considering its size, the strike comes. Wrapping itself around its prey in a veritable death-knot, the snake will quickly and calmly constrict its muscles, literally squeezing the life out the creature in its grasp. Within minutes, or even seconds, unable to move even enough to breathe in or out, the victim will die from asphyxiation.
Despite the fact that pythons rarely attack animals as large as humans, there is something exhilarating about holding one in your hands. Draping one around your neck is even more daring, a risk akin to sky diving or swimming in a shark cage. It is safe to say that half the people in my household would never agree to allow a snake of any kind, much less a python, to coil itself around any part of their bodies.
When he was in first grade, my son once had the opportunity to see some critters up close and personal. Among the menagerie of creepy crawlies were a few snakes. Unaware of the specifics of his experience that day, I began asking him questions about the live animal demonstration.
“So, Evan, how were the critters? Did you get to touch a salamander or anything?”
“Yeah. But I was wrong about their tails falling off. Those are lizards. I think. Hey, Dad? What’s the kind of snake called that you put around your neck?”
“I don’t know, a python maybe?”
“Oh,” Evan replied. Then, matter-of-factly, “I’ll just call him a hugger, because that’s what he’s good at.”
And there it is. One man’s death-trap is another man’s sweet embrace.
Just when you think you know something, you must look at it a different way. -John Keating, "Dead Poets Society"
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