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Herald of Freedom and Torch Light, Sept 1862 (4-1C Other news: Boa Constrictor)

Herald of Freedom and Torch Light, Hagerstown, Md., September 1862, page 4 Click on the MEDIA ITEMS below for more information


From the Columbus Ohio Statesman.

A Terrific Encounter with a Boa Constrictor.

One of the most thrilling incidents which has ever come to our knowledge occurred a few days since in a "side show" with Van Amburgh & Co.'s Menagerie, where two enormous snakes, an anaconda and a boa constrictor, are on exhibition. Both of the huge reptiles are kept in one case with a glass top, opening at the side, and the keeper was engaged in the act of feeding them when the event occurred. The larger of the snakes, the boa constrictor, which is some thirty feet long and is as large around the middle as a man's thigh, had just swallowed two rabbits when the keeper introduced his arm and body into the cage for the purpose of reaching a third to the anaconda at the opposite corner.

While in this position the boa, not satisfied with his share of the rations, made a spring, probably with the intention of securing the remaining rabbit, but instead fastened his jaws upon the keeper's hand, and, with the rapidity of lighting, threw three coils around the poor fellow, thus rendering him entirely helpless. His shouts of distress at once brought several men to his assistance, and among them, fortunately, was a well-known showman, named Townsend, a man of great muscular power, and, what was of much more importance, one who had been familiar with the habits of these repulsive monsters all his life, having owned some of the largest ones ever brought to this country.

The situation of the keeper was now perilous in the extreme. The first thing to be done was to uncoil the snake from around him, but if in attempting this the reptile should become in the least degree angered, he would, in a second, contract his coils with a power sufficient to crush the life out of an ox. A single quick convulsion of this creature, and the keeper’s soul would be in eternity! This Townsend fully understood so without attempting to disturb the boa’s hold upon the keeper's hand, he managed by powerful, yet extremely cautious movements, to uncoil the snake without exciting him, after which by the united exertions of two strong men, the jaws were pried open and the man released in a completely exhausted condition, The bite of the boa constrictor is not poisonous, and, although the bitten hand was immensely swollen the next day, no serious results were apprehended. A more narrow escape from a most horrible death, it would be difficult to imagine.


Herald of Freedom and Torch Light

Maryland Historical Society

Sept 10-24, 1862

Collection Location:
Maryland Historical Society

Antietam, Battle of, Md., 1862; Maryland Campaign, 1862; Hagerstown (Md.)--Newspapers.

Washington County, MD. September 1862

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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