Part Four: Boa vs Python.
We’ve got more than our fair share off oddities in the collection, this being a prime example. The caption indicates that it’s a depiction of a finely moustachioed zoo-keeper feeding a boa to a python at the Zoological Society of London, under the watchful and rightly cautious supervision of a rabbit.
But all might not be as it seems. A more likely scenario could have involved an altogether accidental incident of ophiophagy; whereby both snakes started feeding on the same prey item at once. This makes sense, given the other, single rabbit that remains in the enclosure. The larger of the snakes, in this case the python, would then have continued to swallow past the bunny, consuming the boa in the process.
So perhaps it makes more sense that the diligent keeper is in fact desperately trying to save one of his prize exhibits from the belly of another. It’s certainly not unheard of, and is a very good reason to feed your serpents separately. Unfortunately we don’t have any live reptiles here at Wellcome, but the Trust has funded some rather high-tech ‘snakes’ in the past.
Al McCartney, Wellcome Images.
Image Credit: Wellcome Library, London.
Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons by-nc 2.0 UK: England & Wales, see http://images.wellcome.ac.uk/indexplus/page/Prices.html.