The Slitherers, or the art of adaptation

 

Documentary
Duration : 52 '
Support : Digital Betacam - stereo - 16/9 - 4/3 

 

Director : Luc Jacquet
Production : Mona-Lisa

see the trailer

 (5,2Mo)

 

They are everywhere, in the deepest oceans, in the hottest deserts, in the far reaches of cold lands, in the most impenetrable forests. They occupy the most familiar landscapes but live also in the most unexpected places. They are everywhere, and yet, we see them so rarely.

 

This is the story of the most discreet creatures on earth: their story is surprising, their success indisputable. Snakes have taken on every form, seized every opportunity. They have crept into niches, slid into cracks and chinks in every habitat on the globe. They are venerated, held in contempt, they fascinate and they frighten, and yet a little more attention given to their species and their way of life is well deserved, for they have much to teach us.

 

Living a hidden life leads to mystery, and it is but a short step from mystery to fear, especially when one has the power to kill.

 

As Richard Shine, one of the world’s leading herpetologists, says with humour, “Taking an interest in snakes is like supporting a football team that loses every match. In the end you have two options: abandon this unpopular cause or try to persuade others to revise their positions.”

 

And so, far from prejudices, preconceptions and cheap thrills, this film proposes to reveal the slitherers to us through new eyes.

 

 

We will be obliged to leave the vertical position and distant viewpoints.

We will be obliged to forget that we have hands for grasping, arms for reaching.

We will have to leave behind us our long legs that allow us to penetrate deep into a forest, bending branches as we go.

We will have to forget our landmarks, our habits, for we are going to plunge into the horizontal, furtive and slithering world of snakes.

 

 

It will now be necessary to move about in a sinuous manner, conforming to the shape of the terrain, going around obstacles, using the different substrata.

 

It is hard to imagine a simpler construction than the snake: it is a tube, which at the outset poses many physiological problems. However, the tube has succeeded, better than many other vertebrates, in conquering every milieu, even the most hostile, desolate, unbearable. This creature, of crude construction from an evolutionary point of view represents, in spite of appearances, a marvel of adaptation, which is changing our way of looking at the living world, generally perceived and explained through our mammalian “spectacles”. It is above all a formidable model for understanding and confirming certain aspects of Darwinian theory.

 

 
Snakes develop astonishing survival strategies and adapt successfully to very varied environments. Observations all over the world demonstrate that snakes sometimes even manage to defy death.
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