laughing snakes

can you tie a snake into a knot such that it can’t extricate itself?
just wondering.

No. Not without killing it.

oh. i suppose it won’t be able to breathe.

Yeah, I can’t imagine any configuration you could put a living snake into that its own muscles wouldn’t be able to get it out of, not unless you seriously injured it.

Reminds me of the John Ciardi poem:

“I had two eels once whom I taught
To make themselves a true love knot,
But one would slip and one would slide
And then the knot would come untied. …
No matter that I tried and tried,
No matter than I even cried,
The knot would always come untied.”

I’ve actually tried doing this on more than one occasion. The snake immediately slides out of the knot.

Well, that would pretty effectively prevent the snake from extricating itself.


The problem is not so much breathing but that the snake, while very flexible, does have some limitations. Snakes’ bodies don’t have a lot of friction (otherwise they couldn’t move very well). If you knotted a snake’s body tightly enough so that friction would be effective enough to hold the knot, it would probably break or at least dislocate its spine, cut off its blood circulation, etc. The snake might not die immediately, but its not being able to extricate itself would have as much to do with being crippled as anything else.