Yesterday afternoon, Swarthmore students received a Public Safety email bulletin warning them to be “cautious and vigilant” in the face of a missing seven-foot boa constrictor, which is still at-large in the borough. According to the DelcoTimes, the missing reptile is the eponymous “Snakey,” the longtime pet of Swarthmore resident David Spiegel.
Spiegel told the Times, “He’ll curl up in a spot, and we check on him periodically. Guess we waited too long to check on him.”
“It’s our hope that that whoever sees him isn’t terrified of snakes,” Spiegel said. “We’re also hoping that anyone who finds him isn’t angry or violent and wants to kill it.”
Fox29 reports that Snakey is familiar with children and is even a friend to the Spiegel family cats. “I do not expect him to go hunting kids or babies or anything like that because he never has. He’s grown up with kids,” said Spiegel.
The borough of Swarthmore has no ordinance against exotic pets, although that libertarian policy may change after Snakey’s escape.
Meanwhile, the staff at the Swarthmore Independent cannot help but be reminded of the famous Gadsden Flag. The yellow flag, which first appeared in the American colonies well before the Revolution, features a rattlesnake and the text “Don’t Tread on Me,” as a reminder of our citizens’ liberty and independence.
Under the pseudonym “The American Guesser,” Benjamin Franklin told the Philadelphia Journal in 1775:
I recollected that her eye excelled in brightness, that of any other animal, and that she has no eye-lids—She may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance.—She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage.—As if anxious to prevent all pretensions of quarreling with her, the weapons with which nature has furnished her, she conceals in the roof of her mouth, so that, to those who are unacquainted with her, she appears to be a most defenseless animal; and even when those weapons are shewn and extended for her defense, they appear weak and contemptible; but their wounds however small, are decisive and fatal:—Conscious of this, she never wounds till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of stepping on her.—Was I wrong, Sir, in thinking this a strong picture of the temper and conduct of America?
Stay vigilant, Swatties.