Photo @tbfrost | Words by @paulrosolie | There is something wondrous about a wild creature curled safely in human hands. With red eyes and mesmerizing red and black-tipped scales this calico snake (Oxyrhhopus melanogenys) inspires caution at first encounter. It glows stark against the heavy tones of the Amazonian night, but this snake poses no threat. Which makes it all the more unfortunate that fearful humans kill them with a single machete stroke. Over the course of a decade living and working at a remote camp in the Peruvian Amazon, they are a common acquaintance that seems happy to be handled. So many people have an inherent fear of snakes, which is why the calico snake’s tranquil temperament has allowed me to present them as ambassadors to the snake world. It is the snake I hope to find when there are people at camp who are averse or even terrified of snakes. I let them see it in my hands first, before inviting them to try it for themselves. What happens next is a moment of mutual trust between scales and skin that has the power to bridge the nearly opaque boundary between species. This image is part of a series aimed at better understanding the relationship between reptiles and humans.
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