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Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Photo by: Mrs. Rachel
rattlesnake. In this notes on Pliny’s Book VIII, Chapter XXIII, Geronimo de Huerta wrote: their bones are like fish-bones. If you cut off the tail, they will turn into lizards. If you put two together they will look like one with two heads. 

They eat more than any other animal and drink little, unless it is wine, which they love. They are caught by putting wine out near where they live. When they become inebriated, they are easy to catch. 

They shed their skin starting from the eyes and head until the entire skin has fallen off the body ending at the tail. They remain bare for a day and a half. They do not eat meat for three to four days but they eat fennel. Then they bath themselves in water. It is said that grass is very agreeable for it protects them from cold and, on the contrary, ash wood bothers them and is noxious for them. They not only flee from it but also from their own shadow. 

Rattlesnakes have three nerves running down the length of their bodies. It is said that they are used as strings on citherns and that when played they have the power to make people have sex. The meat of the rattlesnake is good for those suffering from leprosy. The skin that falls off when boiled in vinegar and is put in ears to relieve earaches and toothaches if left for a while in the mouth. This is tied on the back of woman in labor to ease the birth. Placed between clothes, it kills moths. It clears the vision when rubbed on the eyes. A dried rattlesnake thrown on the fire a little to receive the smoke augments menstruation. 

Diosorides wrote in Chapter XVII of Book II that a strip of snake boiled in wine and put in the ears cured earaches. Placing it in the mouth cured toothaches. It was mixed with medicine to clear the vision especially vipers. Laguna added that in spring snakes seek a rugged, narrow place to shed their skins to be replaced by another that is more delicate and brighter. The pulverized remains of a viper applied to a shaven head mixed with laurel oil makes the hair grow back rapidly. Venomous tongue mixed with honey clears the vision. Villena maintained that rattlesnake meat was eaten for the morphine content and that Italians ate it for wisdom and health. See untos.[Laza.2002:122-123; and Villena.2004:23b]

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