• U.S.

Animals: Snakelets

2 minute read

No. 1 birth-month of great U. S. men* has been February; birth-month of most U. S. snakes is July. Last week as the nation squirmed with snakelets, no mother-snake was prouder than Grace Olive Wiley of Minneapolis. She takes care of all the 300-odd live snakes, lizards, fish, birds, bats which Minneapolis keeps in a wing of its public library, but rattlesnakes are her specialty. Some seven months ago she set out to placate Sahuara, one of her male rattlers. First she soothed him with a cloth on the end of a stick. Soon she was able to stroke him with her bare hand. Then she put him in a cage with Kitty, a female rattler. Last fortnight appeared the results of Curator Wiley’s kind treatment—ten baby rattlesnakes, of which four survived. As far as records show, no one else has ever succeeded in what she had now accomplished for the third time—getting rattlesnakes to breed in captivity. Curator Wiley never removes the fangs from her rattlers, ascribes her success in handling them to kindness. She likes to have one coiled in her lap “like a contented old cat” while she sews.

* Including 24% of those in New York University’s Hall of Fame.

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