Vipera caudisona Americana minor: The Small Rattle-Snake.
Rattle-Snakes of this Size being differently marked and coloured
from the large ones, as appear by the Figures, makes it generally
concluded they are different, tho' this is not sufficient to prove
it; for I have observed that some kinds change their Marks and Colours
as they call off their Exuviae; others at the shedding of
their Exuviae retain their Colours, particularly those that
are of one Colour. This Observation I often proved, by assisting
many of them to strip off their old Coats. Whether this little Rattle-Snake
be of a different Species or not, must be left to future Enquiry.
The Bite of this Snake is venomous, but it being small doth not
always prove mortal.
The Ground Colour of this Serpent is brown, shaded on the Back
with red; along which are large black Spots, indented with a white
All kinds of Serpents at mature Age retain their specifick Colours:
It is while they are young and growing, that some of them are differently
marked at the Change of their Exuviae, which I shall observe
in their following Descriptions, so far as I know. The common Opinion
is, that Rattle-Snakes have the same Number of Joints as they are
Years old, which can be only conjectural, and seems to be a Mistake,
for small Snakes have often more Joints than large.
Frutex foliis oblongis serratis alternis, Acaciae floribus luteis,
fructu brevi, calyculato viridi.
This Shrub grows usually to the Height of eight or ten Feet, with
many tough Stalks growing in alternate bendings: The Leaves are
berated, and grow alternately at the Angles of every bending: The
Flowers grow in Spikes at the Ends of the smaller Branches, are
pappous, globular, and sweet scented. The Fruit is about the Size
of a large Pea, and shaped like an Acorn, except that the Cup is
divided into four or five Sections. They grow on most of the Bahama
Acacia, Buxi follis rotundioribus, floribus albis, siliqua lata
These Trees grow very high, with large strait Trunks, some being
above three feet Diameter, with very large spreading Limbs, the
exterior Branches of the Tree are very small and pliant, thick set
with pinnated Leaves. The Flowers are pappous, white and globular,
and are succeeded by flat thin Pods, an Inch broad, and almost five
long, and are usually twisted, inclosing many flat brown seeds.
This is an excellent Wood, and next to what is here called Madera
(which is the Mahogony of Jamaica) is the best Wood
these Islands afford, much of it being brought from thence to England
for Joiner's Work: The Grain is not altogether so close as that
of the Madera, yet excels it in a variable shining, like
watered Satin, and is mistakenly called Mahogony by the Bahamians.