Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

This article displays in one automatically-generated column. View the full page to see article in its original form.

REPTILE HANDLING FOR A LIVELIHOOD.

THE MOST PERILOUS CALLING IN THE WORLD.

When a woman purchases a boa—if it is a Teal second-tend Ostend rabbitskin' masquerading as the genuine' article it doesn't matter as long as she is ignorant of the terrible secret—she is, as a rule, very proud of her new possession. And'why not? It is\'notorious that there is nothing like & boa to set off a dimple, yet it may- bo doubted if there are many fair' creatures on the face of this earth who would care to wear a live boa-constrictor round their dainty necks, dimples or no dimples. ' . There is one lady, however, ani Mademoiselle. Paula is her name, who not only encircles her neck with boa-constrictors, but fondles them as if they were tame mice. Mdlle Paula is a Bavarian by birth, * and is known throughout Europe and the east as the most daring handler of reptiles in the world. Hlie has travelled some-_ thing... like 40,000 miles with her trunks" crammed to the brim with snakes and crocodiles, and has recently announced in" public that she will subdue, unaided-and; unarmed, any serpent, irrespective of size, and any man-eating alligator not • exceeding 15ft in length that may be placed before her.' * " •■'"-...;

I had the good fortune the Other'day (writes a, representative of a Home paper) to.be able to arrange an interview, with Mdlle Paula, and as she came forward to greet me, I cannot honestly aver' that I .was surprised to notice that'her right hand was one mass of scars—the .indelible teethmarks of her pets. . .. ' , "There is -no need to remark that yours is decidedly the most hazardous calling extant, Mademoiselle," I said. - ; ' "Well,- I suppose it is. It is certainly more, risky than that of the lion-tamer, because} lions dan be taught to know their masters, whereas reptiles have rib■ brain'; and cannot distinguish one person.'from another. The majority of folk' appear -to imagine that snakes" can be charmed into docility. It is an,old superstition,• but as a"-matter of fact there is nostteh art as shake-charming. The only-effectual way to combat a serpent- is to ifatch him -and demonstrate to his dissatisfaction -that- you are not in the least afraid of him.

f.''.l have onlj- one- method, and- that' is' to. go straight for the head of a; '.reptile. This may not be .easy, but I wait patiently until the moment for action arrives! In the - case of a boa-cpnstrictor—l have one 15ft" in length—he will generally follow me about with, the object of crushing me,' but I; dodge him,' always keeping at*a safe distance from: his teeth. Thenj.whep. an opportunity arises, I grasp him firmly below his head. ' ~ . ; '

.-; ";There is one important point", to be observed mv coiling a boa-constrictor round one's neck, and that-is never to allow the., head and tail to meet. Neglect of .this rtile means certain death, for the boa tills bycrushing. Even when' his head: knd tall are apart he causes some : The strength-of 'a' serpent lies in his head and^ tail. Cut off his tail and his fighting: capa-.; city is gone. I suppose you have "heard thatl dived into a, tank alive with reptile's.' ;>-.■■-'•' By-the-bye," ■continued Mdlle'' Kula

! after a .pause; '"■ there; is another erroneous, Ij" idea that is very prevalent, and that is'thatf the teeth of my reptUes.are extra,eted before ;I: touch -, them. »I ' should be extremely , \ happy to permit any ■ doubting person • to. put. his.: fingers into the . mouth of \ any. one of my specimens that, he chooses- to select. Students' of zoology' are perfectly w.ell aware that reptiles die when they lose their teeth.;" ''■■ - " -,-.-' ":-- r

: ." How about this statement of. yours that youwill subdue any. reptile in the 'universe?' Has anyone accepted; your-challenge?"V. X "Oh, lots of people.' 'I.'don't wish to frighten the carmen of LondonVbufc/snakes -^huge fellows, too—are "positively being forwarded to my-rhouse through the agency, of the parcel' delivery companies. A basket was-: brought .to me a few days ago"," and' you, can picture my^ surprise when I inform you that on lifting the lid ■'»-python'slid" forth. ■- It was --one of .those powerful creatures that, crush bullocks to death. Well,' he'had to be got under control somehow, so I let him tire himself out—he' chased me;round and round the room^and then l'ippe'd;\him by 'the head: : Three days laiter.' he-had""His" revenge: ';The bite" he gave me l'-shall not soon forget." '/'■," '■ » .<!-. . "A rather funny incident occurred some; weeks ago. An indiyidual challenged Vine to subdue a large alligator at the Zoological Gardens. I 'accepted the -■ challenge'; and taking a-large basket 'with me to' the |Zoo I :-popped the reptile inside and conveyed him' to a; four-wheeler. Cabby not knowing his fare placed the basket imder his feet.: But we had not gone far' before .I" heard a tremendous shouting, and on leanifi'g dut of ".the windov/ I perceived the tail; of mv alligator 'jutting from the basket, -'in an-. other instant he was snapping his jaws in the street and people were running awayas fast as they could go.' The cab flaying been brought to a stop I jumped 6\it, seizing a shawl from the shoulder,^ of,' abystande!- J threw it over the reptile's head, and after a-'little trouble succeeded in depositing him in his prison again.".:,; "Do you carry the whole of'j'ourinena-.: gerie in baskets?" ■ .;

."'Yes, and each basket is lined with' warming, pans. Reptiles . must be : kept! warm." - ■:"" ..''.■...'' , -■"!''*'''?.'£;.

" What do they eat?^ " .: '£•; ' "Live . rabbits, and pigeons. Tliey-.pi-e fed about once every two month's^ but strangely enough, although . they have "a rooted antipathy to human,beings.and will attack them at every opportunity if you put a living animal or bird into their cage they won't harm it if they are no'tnimgry/ After snakes have partaken*of a meal they lie 'dormant for 12 or 14 days, and-until the meal has been digested they are useless for my work." .-•'-. * " " ■"One more question to conclude the cross-examination. What do you. pay for ■your reptiles?" . - * .'".-..-.■..-. ■■'■"•The price entirely depends on their size.1 Some of my" serpents cost £15 apiece:_ The retail charge for a small alligator is about a sovereign per foot, buferfor piie measuring Bft £15 would probably ..be asked." , .' -...: ". :

This article text was automatically generated and may include errors. View the full page to see article in its original form.
Permanent link to this item
Bibliographic details
Word Count
1,023

REPTILE HANDLING FOR A LIVELIHOOD. Otago Daily Times, Issue 11415, 5 May 1899

  1. New formats

    Papers Past now contains more than just newspapers. Use these links to navigate to other kinds of materials.

  2. Hierarchy

    These links will always show you how deep you are in the collection. Click them to get a broader view of the items you're currently viewing.

  3. Search

    Enter names, places, or other keywords that you're curious about here. We'll look for them in the fulltext of millions of articles.

  4. Search

    Browsed to an interesting page? Click here to search within the item you're currently viewing, or start a new search.

  5. Search facets

    Use these buttons to limit your searches to particular dates, titles, and more.

  6. View selection

    Switch between images of the original document and text transcriptions and outlines you can cut and paste.

  7. Tools

    Print, save, zoom in and more.

  8. Explore

    If you'd rather just browse through documents, click here to find titles and issues from particular dates and geographic regions.

  9. Need more help?

    The "Help" link will show you different tips for each page on the site, so click here often as you explore the site.

Working