Letter from Hiram Capron to the Rural New Yorker about Rattlesnakes
- Capron, Hiram, Author
- Media Type:
- Item Type:
- This is the original handwritten version of a letter by Hiram Capron which was published in an 1872 issue of the Rural New Yorker magazine. Capron is responding to an earlier letter in which a correspondent claimed that rattlesnakes carry venom sacs underneath their tongues. He explains how he had come in close contact with a rattlesnake, which gave him the opportunity to examine the exact means by which they deliver their venom through hollow fangs.
This letter is cited by Donald A. Smith on page 31 of the first volume of At the Forks of the Grand.
- Date of Original:
- Local identifier:
- 1999.0410.01.01 - 02
- Hiram Capron Collection
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- Recommended Citation:
- Letter from Hiram Capron to the Rural New Yorker about Rattlesnakes, 187[2?], Hiram Capron Collection, 1999.0410.01.01 - 02, Paris Museum and Historical Society
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- Full Text
Most of this published
in the Rural New Yorker
in the Winter 1872
Written in Hiram Caprons
In the Rural Feb 11 I read Dr Hagemans account of on Rattle Snakes, \
He says he has discovered a cure for their Bite. I hope he has but his discription of their manner of Biting is erroneous.
" The learned Doct. says the Snake carries a small sack or pouch containing the poison immediately under the tongue, and when angry, and the opportunity to use its weapon is given, a small quantity is thrown against the tongue, and as it pinces the flesh, the virus is left in the wound; where it is soon drawn into the circulation contaminating the whole system " I say the tongue has nothing to do in the business
I will describe what I have seen. In the year 1829 I purchased a farm in Canada, and with it had to take a few Mississauga Rattle Snakes as [m?] had provision which are verry [sic] poisonous. Harvesting my first crop of wheat in 1830 one of the men was about to bind a Rattler in his bundle - but saw him at the instant of grasping the grain, and before his hand came in reach of hin, being terribley frightend [sic] hollowed Rattle Snake. We all left work to see him. I took a pitch fork and run it through his body about a foot back from his hand. The snake was about three feet in length. He coiled his body round the fork handle, his head erect a foot high, he drew back his head to an angle of about 45° his
mouth upper jaw falling back then striking forward as quick as thought to the object of it, anger; in this case a hand smoth [sic] white Ash fork handle, his two fangs, or poison teeths run out from the inside of the rim of his upper jaw one each side and about a half inch in length and as they struck the fork handle they which was plain to be heard - depositing a small drop of yellowish green poison - which issued from the hollow fangs about the 20th part of an inch back from the point
The teeth formed a quarter circle - and about the size of a large darning needle a little flattened and scolloped [sic] out on the underside something like pen made from a goose quill when the little drop of poison issued //
about the siz [sic] of a large [?ive] hind from each tooth. This I could plainly see, as my eyes were within two feet of him. He appeared to be at extremly cautious about keeping his tongue and every part of his mouth mouth [?] and jaw away from the poison teeth as he raised his head slowly (crossed out) from the fork handle, these racked teeth slowly drew back in to the jaw, the little holes plain to be seen after the teeth disappeared before he closed his mouth neither his tongue nor any part of his mouth came near the drop poison the poison teeth
I made him bite many times, to learn the whole performance, and my impression was that to bite on to flesh (no clothes in the way) he would deposite the poison a full half inch deep.
Snakes head showing one tooth