IN PRAISE OF SNAKES

LOOK BEYOND THEIR FORKED TONGUES AND LETHAL FANGS, SAYS A NEW BOOK. THEY HAVE A SPECIAL BEAUTY AND MYSTIQUE--AND AN INTERESTING SEX LIFE TOO

Ever since the wily serpent urged Eve to take that fateful bite out of the apple, snakes have been on just about everybody's enemies list. In the Old West, calling someone a "rattlesnake" or "snake in the grass" could get you shot. Even newborn monkeys recoil instantly when shown the image of a snake. Is there anyone who has something good to say about the creatures?

As it happens, there is. Harry Greene, 52, a soft-spoken, Southern-accented biology professor at the University of California, Berkeley, not only believes snakes have been badly maligned but has also made it his life's work...

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