Blog: It’s a Jungle Out There

Burt Ross

I think people get the wrong idea about Malibu. Outsiders think that we all sit around hobnobbing with the rich and famous. They imagine grand parties where Dylan, Cher, Streisand and Gaga sing barber shop quartet, or something like that.

The reality is when Randy Newman wrote the lyrics “It’s a jungle out there,” he might as well have been talking about Malibu. Just a few weeks ago I wrote a column about somebody who was inquiring about a peacock roaming about, and now I hear on social media that there is a missing donkey on Point Dume.  

The fact is we are surrounded by all kinds of animals. Hawks dive-bomb from above, coyotes steal our domestic animals, and mountain lions are never far away. Does this remotely sound like a resort town for the stars of stage and screen?

The other day my bride was moving an outdoor cushion when, lo and behold, there was a snake taking a nap in the shade of the cushion. I, of course, did the manly thing and hid in the bathroom. My bride took a photo of the snake, and I was comforted to learn that it appeared to be a bull snake, not a poisonous rattlesnake.

And now I am going to share something with you about snakes which you probably don’t know, and if nothing else, this tidbit of information might very well justify your reading my column. Here goes! Male snakes have two penises! Just remember you heard it here first. Actually many lizards also enjoy two penises. I am not sure “enjoy” is the right word since they can only use one at a time. If you are ever at a cocktail party and the conversation starts to lag, you can always try, “Snakes have two penises.” I did that at a recent get together with mixed results.

You are probably asking yourself why male snakes have two penises, and to be perfectly honest, I was thinking the very same thing.  I have read up on this important matter and have come away utterly confused as to the reason. There are several different explanations, but let’s simply put it this way, if an animal can have two eyes, two ears, two legs, two arms and so forth, then why can’t an animal have two penises. Why begrudge a reptile additional male equipment, that is what I say.

The only thing you my reader need to know for certain is that the next time you see a rattlesnake, I strongly urge you not to look too closely to determine whether it is a male or a female. If you get so close that you are able to count the number of male appendages, I might well lose you as a reader.