Morning Musically-Minded, Medically-Minded, Masticators!
(Today’s post is sponsored by the letter “M”)
Over the past 600+ episodes, The Simpsons has taken us on an amazing journey involving music, science, and food to name a few concepts.
And what better way to start your week, than by discussing some of these concepts Monday morning?
So let’s get started this week by talking about one of the most diverse and wide spread species of animals, snakes.
In the seventy ninth episode of The Simpsons, Whacking Day (Season 04, Episode 20), everyone in Springfield is excited for the upcoming ‘Whacking Day’ festivities.
Kent Brockman: “But first, a look at the local holiday that was called distasteful and puerile by a panel of hillbillies, Whacking Day! In a tradition that dates back to founding father Jebediah Springfield, every May 10th local residents gathered to drive snakes into the center of town and whack them to snake heaven.”
Even Homer is struck with ‘Whacking Day’ fever and is practicing for the big day.
However, as is usually the case in Springfield, Lisa leads the outcry against the insensitive holiday. She even turns to the good Reverend for help.
Reverend Lovejoy, reading from the Bible: “And the Lord said, whack ye all the serpents which crawl on their bellies and thy town shall be a beacon unto others.” Closing the Bible “So you see Lisa, even God himself endorses Whacking Day.”
Lisa: “Lemme see that.”
Reverend Lovejoy, puts the Bible behind him: “Mmmmmmm, no.”
She turns to Bart, who has been home schooled by Marge after being expelled, for help. Bart recalls through his homeschooling that Whacking Day is a sham conceived in 1922 to beat up the Irish.
He agrees to help Lisa.
Lisa: “If the snakes were in here we could protect them.”
Bart: “According to this, snakes hear by sensing vibrations in the ground. So, if we put our stereo speakers on the ground and play something with a lot of bass, those snakes will be in here like Oprah on a baked ham.”
With a little help from Barry White, Bart and Lisa draw the snakes to their house and save them from the torture of Whacking Day.
Bart shares his newfound education with Springfielders and saves the snakes, and in turn is reinstated into school by Principal Skinner.
But have you ever wondered what snakes are?
Snakes are elongated, limbless, carnivorous reptiles of the suborder Serpentes.
There are then 24 families of snakes, 524 genus, and over 3,000 species of snakes.
According to National Geographic, these 3,000+ species are found everywhere except in Antarctica, Iceland, Ireland, Greenland, and New Zealand. About 600 species of snakes are venomous. Only about 200 (7%) are able to kill or significantly wound a human.
Nonvenomous snakes, which range from harmless garter snakes to the not-so-harmless python, dispatch their victims by swallowing them alive or constricting them to death. Whether they kill by striking with venom or squeezing, nearly all snakes eat their food whole, in sometimes astoundingly large portions.
Most snakes are fairly small animals, approximately 1 m (3.3 ft) in length. The largest extant snakes are the reticulated python, measuring about 6.95 m (22.8 ft) long, and the green anaconda, which measures about 5.21 m (17.1 ft) long and is considered the heaviest snake on Earth at 97.5 kg (215 lb). 58 to 60 million years ago, fossil of Titanoboa have been found in Columbia that indicate Titanoboa could grow up to 12.8 m (42 ft) long and reach a weight of 1,135 kg (2,500 lb).
Almost all snakes are covered in scales and as reptiles, they’re cold blooded and must regulate their body temperature externally. Scales serve several purposes, including trapping moisture in arid climates and reducing friction as the snake moves. There have been several species of snakes discovered that are mostly scaleless, but even those have scales on their bellies to aid in movement.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that on the order of 100,000 people die each year as a result of snake bites, and around three times as many amputations and other permanent disabilities are caused by snakebites annually. The most common and effective treatment method of a venomous bite is through antivenom, a serum made from the venom of the snake. However, some antivenom are species specific.
From Fun Kids, here are the Top 10 Fun Facts about snakes:
- Snakes smell with their tongues.
- Some snakes are venomous.
- Pit vipers, boa constrictors and pythons can sense heat.
- Snakes have hundreds of ribs.
- They shed their skin.
- Snakes hear using vibrations in their jaw bones.
- There are over 3,000 different species of snakes.
- The fastest snake can travel up to 12 miles per hour (19.3 km/hr).
- The longest snake is the reticulated python over 6 meters long.
- Snakes have flexible jaws.
Now that we’ve learned more about snakes, be sure to come back next week when we continue our Monday morning musings with the next episode of The Simpsons.
Did you remember the episode? What’s your favourite Springfield celebration episode of The Simpsons? What about your favourite Lisa and Bart team up episode on The Simpsons? Did you know a lot of these details about snakes? What’s your favourite species of snake? If you don’t like snakes, have you considered moving to Antarctica, Iceland, Ireland, Greenland, or New Zealand? Sound off in the comments below. You know we love hearing from you.