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From the Jan. 26, 1959, Eagle

Eagle Archives, Jan. 26, 1959: Boys' rattler having trouble finding a place to board

LENOX — Anyone got room for a reptile?

If you have, Mike Shields, 16, and Peter Rand, 15, of Windsor Mountain School would like to hear from you. Mike and Pete have gone into partnership as owners of Diablo, a Western diamondback, 2½ feet long. That's a rattlesnake.

"He rattles a lot, but he's a nice snake," the partners will assure you. No one would deny that he rattles. He sounded like a whole chorus of rattles as the two boys coaxed him to have his picture taken.

Mike and Pete have made snakes their hobby. They hope to extract Diablo's venom and experiment with it.

They acquired him in the second of two shipments from a snake farm in Louisiana which does a mail order business in reptiles. The first two snakes the boys ordered were a canebrake and a Western diamondback. Both were dead on arrival so the boys ordered two more — A Mojave rattler and another diamondback.

These snakes were shipped air express to Mike's home in Kew Gardens, L.I. The Mojave was dead on arrival but the diamondback was alive. The boys named him Diablo and brought him back to Windsor Mountain School when they returned from a weekend at home.

The school does not care to board snakes, however, so the boys brought their pet to the Collins Veterinarian Hospital in Pittsfield. Diablo proved equally unwelcome there.

At the moment, Diablo resides at the Pleasant Valley Sanctuary. Director Alvah W. Sanborn of the sanctuary would just as soon that the boys found another home for Diablo — as of today.

This Story in History is selected from the archives by Jeannie Maschino, The Berkshire Eagle.

Community News Editor / Librarian

Jeannie Maschino is community news editor and librarian for The Berkshire Eagle. She has worked for the newspaper in various capacities since 1982 and joined the newsroom in 1989.

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