Punch,  42 (1862), 74.

Python Parturiens



Poetry, Drollery


Animal Development, Zoology, Zoological Gardens, Breeding, Education

    Following news that the python at the Zoological Society Gardens is now 'incubating more than 100 eggs', this poem opens by calling for preparations to be made for 'this great egg-sample', and for Fellows of the Zoological Society to 'endorse their tickets' for 'Mrs. Python'. Compares this number of eggs to the single egg once laid in the gardens by a viper, and anticipates how 'a Gray or Owen' will observe changes to the 'scaly family brood'. Likens the 'unwinding' of the 'closely-woven tails' to a W Wilkie Collins narrative, and then compares the python to an attorney who is 'strong to squeeze at will, / With coils as slippery as their gripe is stout'. Goes on to note that Owen will be instructing the young pythons 'how to coil', and anticipates their development from school students to species 'As vicious as the wildest of their kin'. Anticipates how the pythons will be 'as thick as bores are now' and be seen swinging from trees, and notes the beneficial effect of sunshine on egg development.

© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020

Printed from Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical: An Electronic Index, v. 4.0, The Digital Humanities Institute <http://www.sciper.org> [accessed ]