La Jerga Mexico La Jerga Mexico
La Jerga Mexico
If you travel out to el campo, and poll a handful of native local farmers and campesinos, chances are you’ll run into someone who has heard of the Alicante snake. The Alicante is a mythological creature of Mexican folklore—or is it? Like most snakes, the Alicante is said to feed off of rats, field mice and other small rodents and scavengers. But unlike most snakes, Alicantes supposedly don’t drag and crawl upon their entire bodies, but move in a tall and erect fashion, with the majority of their body upright. They hunt their prey in this fashion until they are ready strike, pecking down like a fierce chicken. By some accounts, it has the form of a cobra, complete with the classical cobra “hood”, but with distinctly different characteristics.

But some of the Alicante’s most legendary feats are quite unique to itself. Sucking milk out of goats and hypnotizing birds are some of the more common myths. A nocturnal hunter, the Alicante makes a sound like the whistle of a male construction worker issuing catcalls on 57th Street. This whistle comes in handy, for when the Alicante finds a target of its liking, it has been known to seduce women from the safety of her countryside homes, like a siren luring a sailor’s ship to certain death. And when women are recovering from the miracle of childbirth, the Alicante has been known to sneak into the new mother’s bedroom under cover of darkness, often while she is in a state of lactation and nursing her newborn child. The viper first hypnotizes the newborn with its rattle tail, eventually pacifying the child and placing the rattle in the kid’s mouth, keeping it entertained and quiet, as the asp sucks the milk out of the nursing mother’s breast. Yes, the Alicante seems to take after many of the finest male attributes. And after falling in love with a woman, it is purported to insert its rattle into a woman’s sleeping mouth, while inserting it’s own mouth into the woman’s nether region.

The Alicante is most likely based on the real life Durango Mountain Pine Snake (aka: Mexican Bullsnake, Mexican Pine Snake, Durango Mountain Gopher snake and El cincuate), or Pituophis deppei deppei. This snake is basically tan-colored with very dark, fairly well defined blotches ranging in color from dark brown to black with a slightly lighter head and averaging about 5.5 feet in length. In the state of Hidalgo it is called El cincuate, which roughly translates to “serpent of the corn” or “corn snake”. Probably dubbed so because it frequents the cornfields in Mexico where it preys upon the rodents found there. In other areas of Mexico the name most often encountered is Alicante, and even corallilo, which translates to coral snake. This is probably based upon the fear that rural people have for the display this snake puts on when disturbed, and the mistaken belief that it is poisonous like the coral snake. Like a typical Pituophis when disturbed in the field, the deppei deppei buzzes its tail, exhales air loudly through the epiglottis, and arches the neck into the typical S-shaped threat display. (This could explain the hypnotizing rattle, woman-seducing whistle and upright posture.) This species will commonly (more than any other species of Pituophis) follow this display with immediate action. Its bite is NOT a closed-mouth defensive bite and the deppei deppei are said to mean business. Although it is known to be a fairly common snake throughout the region, rural people, who attribute many mythic qualities to it, usually kill it on sight.
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