15 September 2009

The most interesting one-footed snake you'll see all day

Here's the story as reported in the Telegraph -
Dean Qiongxiu, 66, said she discovered the reptile clinging to the wall of her bedroom with its talons in the middle of the night...

Mrs Duan said she was so scared she grabbed a shoe and beat the snake to death before preserving its body in a bottle of alcohol...

A more common mutation among snakes is the growth of a second head.. but have very little chance of surviving in the wild anyway, especially as the heads have a tendency to attack each other.

What strikes my eye (apart from the Biblical damage the lady did on the snake's head) is the reptile-sized lump in the middle of the snake's body and the resemblance of the situation to that of the hawk with a songbird's claw protruding from its gullet:

I have found two discussion threads on the one-footed snake incident, in one of which I found a link to this photo of a snake that burst after swallowing an alligator.

I think last year I blogged a video of a snake that swallowed a frog and then the frog clambored back out of the snake's mouth, which I can't find at the moment (but you could look it up on YouTube...).

There is certainly fossil evidence of snakes with legs, but my guess at present for this curious incident is that an ingested reptile managed to extrude its claw through a weak spot in the snakes body wall - although I would much prefer to hear that proper study of the creature shows the leg to be a vestigial appendage.

Credit for best comment so far goes to Blackstar at Reddit:
What we're looking at here is a lizard so powerful that it bursts through the body of a snake that has eaten it and then proceeds to climb a wall with its sole exposed limb. With a one-armed snake we could at least take solace in the fact that natural selection would probably snuff it out before it passed that adaptation on. A lizard that powerful simply cannot be stopped!
Snake photo credit CEN/Europics; story discovered by Arbroath.

Addendum: Found a case of a snake in India with protruding "frog legs" here (no photo).

Second addendum: Pix of (?same) Indian "frog-legged snake" here.


  1. A friend of mine caught this one in Davie County, NC last year:





  2. Outstanding! May I have permission to post one or two of the pix with a link to the source? Want to offer a name re photographer credit, or blog/website source?


  3. In the Hindu philosophy of reincarnation there is something called an astral body which stores all the data pertaining to blueprint of the physical body. The astral body departs the physical body at death and reproduces the same conditions in the subsequent newborn body. According to this view of reality - this snake died in its previous incarnation as a result of eating a very unwilling victim. In its new body it mimeographed the exact same status including the protruding limb and the swollen midsection. You may remember the massive human genome project which no-one has said very much about for a long time. Because in the end after billions of dollars racing to a conclusion, it was discovered that the difference between the DNA of a frog and the DNA of a human is so minute that it cannot account for the vast differences in our lifeforms. The DNA simply serves as a medium to encode proteins according to a blueprint that is provided by an intelligence that is as of yet unknown to science.

  4. Sufi Mystic: Hafiz e Shirazi
    Check out "The Gift" translated by Daniel Ladinsky

    "We live on the Sun’s playground


    Everyone gets what he or she wants.

    Sometimes the body of a beautiful woman,

    Sometimes the body of a beautiful man,

    Sometimes the body of both

    In one.

    We used to play that kind of tag

    In the animal world too.

    Now a mouse,

    Now a tiger,

    Look! I am a whale – I got tired of the land,

    Went back to the ocean for a while.

    What power is it in our sinew and mind

    That will not die,

    That keeps us shopping for the perfect dress?"


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