The Sodomite Snake, 1769

The Commodee is an amphibious Snake, about fifteen feet in length, and eighteen inches in circumference. The head is broad and flattish; and the tail is long, slender, and pointed. Their colour is brown, variegated on the back ahd sides with chesnut [sic] coloured spots. Their bite is not venomous; but they are extremely troublesome, frequenting the creeks and ponds, and destroying Ducks, Geese, &c. When they encounter larger prey, the Indians say they kill it by inserting the pointed tails into the rectum; hence the White Inhabitants call it the Sodomite Snake.

SOURCE: An Essay on the Natural History of Guiana, in South America, [by Edward Bancroft], London: Printed for T. Becket and P. A. De Hondt in the Strand, 1769, p. 205. This paragraph was reprinted in the Annual Register for 1769, p. 92.

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Rictor Norton (Ed.), "The Sodomite Snake, 1769", Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 23 April 2007 <>.

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