A snake smells with its tongue, hears with its flesh, and breathes under the sand with one lung; it can copulate for days with one snake or with fifty at once; it has infrared radar; and it can induce spontaneous bleeding if threatened. With all these qualities, it is easy to see how snakes have such varied associations in cultures around the world: while celebrated in tattoos and tales, and for medicinal benefits, snakes are also so universally feared that they constantly endure intense persecution and rarely enjoy protected rights. Drake Stutesman explores here in Snake the fascinating natural history of the maligned serpentine.
Stutesman examines a wide range of sources to investigate the complex and widespread symbolism the snake has inspired, including the serpent's temptation of Eve in the Bible, Kaa in The Jungle Book, the Chinese zodiac, Indian snake charmers, and the Hollywood film Anaconda. She looks at the role snakes have played in human culture and science, from snake cuisine and the use of venom in medicine to the intriguing history of snake symbolism in art, architecture, cinema, and even clothing. Richly illustrated and written in an engaging style, Snake is an invaluable resource for snake enthusiasts and scholars, as well as for all who love, admire, or fear this fascinating and enduring animal.