Henry H. Tryon's
“ F E A R S O M E   C R I T T E R S
( 70th A N N I V E R S A R Y   H Y P E R T E X T   E D I T I O N )

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Hoop Snake.
Serpenscirculousus caudavenenifer

          A well-known menace. Its existence is thoroughly established by numerous reports from highly creditable parties. The characteristics appear to be about the same in all regions. Its habit of tucking its tail in its mouth and rolling at incredible speed in pursuit of its prey, or a fancied enemy, is not duplicated fortunately, by any other member of the aninai kingdom.
          The tail ends in a stinger carrying venom of such power that a dose of but 0.003 p.p.m. is sufficient to make even the leather-skinned Hodag turn green and swell up and die inside of an hour. No wonder that folks wise in woods lore are wary of this circular engine of destruction. He may travel on just one cylinder but that’s all he needs.
          The speed reached in rolling is nothing short of remarkable. A full grown jack-rabbit is pie for this Snake. A mature Snake, when hooped, has a diameter of 1.5923 feet. He has been clocked, after being enticed on to a cleverly designed rolling metered platform at an r.p.m. of about 1056, or a straightaway speed of some 60 m.p.h. The only way to outrur him is to climb Over a fence. The Snake must unhoop to get through.
          There are many authentic cases of death from this reptile’s venom; possibly the most convincing bit of data is that, in a fit of pique, a Hoop Snake stung one of Paul Bunyan’s peavy handles. Of course this handle was a sizeable stick to start with, but the venom swelled it to such dimensions that Paul cut it up into 946 cords of wood. And then the dang stuff wouldn’t burn. Just lay in the stove and hissed.

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Fearsome Critters, Written by Henry H. Tryon • Illustrated by Margaret R. Tryon
(Cornwall, NY: Idlewild Press, 1939) Original Text and Illustrations Public Domain License.
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