The Snakes I Was Familiar With As A Boy Up To This Time Were All Of
Comparatively Small Size, The Largest Being The Snake-With-A-Cross,
Described In An Early Chapter.
The biggest specimen I have ever found
of this ophidian was under four feet in length; but the body is thick,
as in all the pit vipers.
Then, there was the green-and-black snake
described in the last chapter, an inhabitant of the house, which
seldom exceeded three feet; and another of the same genus, the most
common snake in the country. One seldom took a walk or ride on the
plain without seeing it. It was in size and shape like our common
grass-snake, and was formerly classed by naturalists in the same
genus, Coronella. It is quite beautiful, the pale greenish-grey body,
mottled with black, being decorated with two parallel bright red lines
extending from the neck to the tip of the fine-pointed tail. Of the
others the most interesting was a still smaller snake, brightly
coloured, the belly with alternate bands of crimson and bright blue.
This snake was regarded by every one as exceedingly venomous and most
dangerous on account of its irascible temper and habit of coming at
you and hissing loudly, its head and neck raised, and striking at your
legs. But this was all swagger on the snake's part: it was not
venomous at all, and could do no more harm by biting than a young dove
in its nest by puffing itself up and striking at an intrusive hand
with its soft beak.
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