Snake Snip

I asked a few questions of the folks on the forum, here, drawing on the breadth of their experiences. My snake-related questions were: is there a criteria to eating snake meat? That is, if you were stuck in the wilderness, and found a dead snake (probably dead of natural causes), would you find this snake under cover or out in the open, and is there any snake you would avoid eating?
As a thank you, I posted the following snip at the end of the thread (only a couple of square brackets (questions) left!):
Here's the snip where the snake-eating comes in...
The Face of A Lion by Deniz Barki
“I’ll come with you.” Austin swerved to avoid a large snake a few steps away in the grass, then turned back to look more closely at it. “Pliny! What is that?”
Pliny followed the direction of his forefinger. He advanced a step, broke off a reed and slowly pushed aside the plants around the snake’s head. Austin could see the length of its body through the grass, wending in a long line back in the direction they had come from.
“I do believe it’s dead.”
“Really?” Austin inched closer. “It’s huge!” The snake was as wide as both his arms together, and stood out from the landscape, not as the men had done, figures painted across a skyline, but more like an accident, a spilled blob of paint in the wrong place, its scales a sharp beetle-black amidst the browns and yellows. But its eyes were closed and, when Pliny boldly thrashed the surrounding reeds, it did not move. Austin stepped right up to it and, kneeling, stretched out a hand, then snatched it back. The creature was still too lifelike to seem safe. If it had been alive... He shuddered, thinking about the slow slither of a snake through the grass. “How long do you think it’s been lying here? We didn’t pass it on the way up. What killed it?”
Pliny was walking along the length of the snake, poking at it with his reed as he went. He picked it up by the tip and curled it upon itself as he returned. He laid the end next to the head and rubbed his hands briskly on a broad-leafed plant.
“It’s still warm. A [Vipera xanthina, Vipera ammodytes meridionalis, or Vipera ammodytes montandoni]. I can’t imagine what happened to it. [Usually a snake that dies naturally is hidden under a rock, not out in the open like this]. But I do have an idea that it’ll make a great feast tonight!”
“A what?” Austin gagged. “You mean you’re going to take him home?” He stared at the fat, scaly coils on the ground, still shiny even after having been dragged through the dust.
“Oh no; it would be much too heavy to take home. And besides, we are not in need of it, fortunately.” Pliny squatted beside the body. “I shall need your help to carry it.”
“You mean –” Austin knelt on the other side of the snake and looked up toward the cave.
“Yes. Were we not just discussing the problem of food for the men? With all the dry grasses about, they’ll be able to rustle up a brushfire and roast it in the embers. Grab the tail, and when I say so, slide your arms under your side of the body. Ready? Heave!”
Trying not to imagine what roasting snake smelled like and doing his best not to cringe at the scaly, rubbery sensation on his bare arms, Austin lifted the body and stood up together with Pliny. Shifting and grunting, Pliny turned so that his back was to the cave and started feeling his way up the hill. Austin’s cloak, tied around his waist as they had made their way back from the cave, started slipping down as he walked and twisted about to keep hold of his half of the awful carcase. He was sweating by the time they reached the olive grove and Pliny let him drop the animal on the ground. He whipped his cloak off and wiped his face and arms, threw the cloak over a tree branch and collapsed against the trunk.

Comments

AYDIN ÖRSTAN said…
I am sure you know that they didn't have "Latin names" for animals back then.
Deniz Bevan said…
Yup! Hence the square brackets... I have to find the real name of an appropriate snake and stick it in there...

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