Showing posts from April, 2008

Give a snake a good name

Can't help ourselves, can we? Have to give things a name. Names lend a sense of control, of entitlement, of ownership. On the other hand they can protect the named. Didn't help Moby Dick, but who'd dream of attacking Migaloo, the famed Australian white whale? And even the hardest hearted Japanese harpooner might baulk at the slaughter if the target was Michiko or Matsui Minke.

Anyway, Amy is my python pal's name. I thought she was Morelia amethistina, a scrub or amethyst python. I've since been told she's more likely Morelia spilota, carpet python. I think she's female, but what does a Kiwi birdo know? She basks in a sunlit spot on a deserted rainforest track near Ingham in North Queensland. And mostly ignores me and my intrusive camera. She prefers not to be touched. So I don't. Mostly.

But her beauty touches me and since I've named her a bit of proprietorial arrogance arises. After all, she's "my" Amy. There's a seam of ethical tru…