Science | August 2, 2021 10:38 am

And Now, Penis Snakes

Some rather phallic snakes have turned up in a South Florida canal

The caecilian snake, a legless amphibian native to South America, is though to resemble a penis.
Behold the penis snake.
ePhotocorp/Getty Images

Nature is filled with phallic creatures and objects. There are mysteriously phallic statues that appear in the German wilderness, hordes of penis fish that infamously washed up on a beach in California a couple years back, eggplants, Jeff Bezos’s rocket, and now, penis snakes.

The legless amphibians — technically called caecilians but also dubbed “rubber eels” and, more puerilely, “penis snakes” — have recently been discovered in South Florida, which is noteworthy because the vaguely phallic creatures are native to Colombia and Venezuela. They made their Floridian debut back in 2019, when they were first found in the C-4 Canal near Miami International Airport. Now, a DNA test by the Florida Museum of Natural History has confirmed that the snakes are in fact the South American natives, technically making them an invasive species.

“This was not on my radar. I didn’t think we’d one day find a caecilian in Florida. So, this was a huge surprise,” said Coleman Sheehy from Florida Museum’s Herpetology Collection. Fortunately, despite their “invasive” status, there’s “nothing particularly dangerous” about the penis snakes, which “don’t appear to be serious predators,” according to Sheehy.`

Like real penises, the penis snakes can vary significantly in length. Unlike real penises, however, the largest penis snakes can measure up to five feet. They tend to thrive in shallow, warm bodies of water, but other than that, little about the snakes and their new life in Florida is known. “Very little is known about these animals in the wild,” wrote Sheehy, noting it’s hard to tell as of yet whether the species is established in the Florida canal where the first specimen was discovered. If they are, however, they’re unlikely to do much harm. “They’ll probably eat small animals and get eaten by larger ones,” wrote Sheehy. “This could be just another non-native species in the South Florida mix.”

Now, to return to the real issue here — which is of course these snakes’ rumored resemblance to a penis — I honestly don’t really think these snakes look particularly more phallic than any other snakes. Sure, snakes just kind of look like dicks the way anything long and tubular does. But what about these snakes, specifically, makes them more penis-like than any other snake? Honestly, I can’t say. But if there’s one thing I do know as a person who writes about dicks for the internet, it’s that once the internet decides something looks like a penis — again, looking at Jeff Bezos’s rocket — there’s no convincing anyone otherwise. And thus, penis snakes they are and ever shall be.