As I’ve professed before, I’m not a fan of snakes. Oddly, that has given me a bizarre fascination with the creatures. Here are the top five wildest stories involving snakes I’ve come across in my many years of fear and loathing!
While there is some dispute over how exactly the Egyptian queen perished, most accounts tell that Cleopatra, despondent over the death of her lover Marc Antony and the fall of her empire, forced an asp to bite her breast (damn snakes get more action than I do!), dying from the toxic venom. The bite may have actually occurred on her arm, but that’s not nearly as sensational. This has to be one of the more interesting suicide attempts ever and certainly is fitting of an extravagant ruler.
#4: Missing in Action
Imagine the horror caused and embarrassment felt when the Bronx Zoo in New York had to announce that a deadly Egyptian cobra had gone missing from the Reptile House. I hope someone got fired for this potentially catastrophic gaffe. The zoo, however, managed to turn the whole incident into a windfall (after all, there is no such thing as “bad publicity”) with a ‘name the snake campaign’ after it was located. The winning entry was Mia, a nod to the serpent going MIA. Someone even created a Twitter account that humourously detailed the snake’s adventures on the lam. The account gained over 200,000 followers.
While feuding with Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage was lured from the commentator’s table and into the ring by a string of insults. After a brief scuffle, Savage found himself tied up in the ring ropes, with Roberts holding a king cobra to his arm (the snake had been de-venomized for the segment). Not crazy enough for you!? Wait, there’s more: days after the incident was filmed, the snake actually died, leaving Savage to claim that his venom was more potent than the snake’s. Given the different substances wrestlers have been known to put in their bodies, this could be entirely accurate.
#2: Déjà Vu
Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. That is the perfect tag line for the lives of Mack and Mark Wolford, a father and son pair of snake handlers. Both died as a result of religious ceremonies using snakes and despite their deaths occurring nearly 30 years apart, the two incidents share a few eerie details. Both were bitten by timber rattlesnakes and refused medical attention. Eight hours after their bites, ambulances were called, but by that time, it was too late for each man. Fool me once, shame on you… fool me twice, must be a snake handler!
#1: Bed of Snakes
Herpetologist and TV presenter, Austin Stevens, holds the Guinness World Record for days spent living among deadly serpents. The South African spent 107 days caged with 36 poisonous snakes. On day 96, he was bit by a cobra, but refused to leave his confinement and was treated while still inside. Stevens’ book Snakes in my Bed was written following his accomplishment. Oddly, the feat was conceived to generate publicity and money for gorilla preservation and not for, hell I don’t know, snakes.
Super Saturday Shot Day: Anaconda
- Rim glass with Caramel Syrup
- 0.75 oz Sambuca
- 0.75 oz Whiskey
Do you know a snake-related tale that should be on this list? Challenge me! In closing, I leave with this to consider: I wonder if a shot could ever be devised featuring one part snake venom and one part anti-venom for that breed? And if it could be made, who would be ballsy enough to try it? I don’t think the line would form behind the Sip Advisor, but never say never!
Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2 Sips out of 5):
I tried to make the Caramel Syrup look like snake venom and I think it looked pretty good dripping down the cowboy boot shot glass. I never thought of Sambuca and Whiskey going together very well… and as usual, I was right. It’s not a horrible shooter, it’s just not that good, either. There are other snake-based shots that deserve a chance before this one, so proceed with caution!