Road signs & the Little Prince

When I visited the Royal Botanic Gardens at Cranbourne (on the outskirts of Melbourne) recently, I was struck by the numerous road signs along the entrance route that implored drivers to slow down for snakes, wallabies, lizards, bandicoots and people.

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There was one sign, in particular, that aroused my interest. Maybe it was simply warning drivers that there was a speed hump ahead?

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But for any grown-ups out there that still have some imagination left, maybe it was like a drawing in Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s ‘The Little Prince’?

When the narrator in the story showed his drawing to some adults, they all thought it was a lop-sided hat (and not a very good one). They failed to see that it was actually a boa constrictor swallowing an elephant.*

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So does anyone agree with me that the road sign at the gardens might be warning drivers to watch out for snakes that have swallowed a wallaby?

And in case you think this is not possible, check out this disturbing video.

(Mind you, I doubt the sort of snakes found at Cranbourne are likely to seek out such large prey or I would have been a lot more nervous walking through the bushland.)

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* For more about The Little Prince and keeping a child-like sense of wonderment, see: ‘The Big Lesson of a Little Prince: (Re)capture the Creativity of Childhood‘, Scientific American by Maria Konnikova (18 March 2012)

The Little Prince illustration is taken from the Konnikova article – from the original version of ‘Le Petit Prince’ published by Harcourt Brace & Company (1943), renewed by Consuelo de Saint-Exupéry (1971)

Photo credits: Pip Marks (2014)



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8 replies

  1. Once while traveling by road in Saudi Arabia, I came across signs which read ‘Camel Crossing’ on major highways. We were supposed to stop, check left and right and then only resume our journey!

    • My initial thought was camels for this post as i remember a question in my driving test years ago. They showed a picture of a road hump sign (not a speed hump sign) and asked if it meant that there was a steep peak or a camel on the road ahead!

  2. I’ve seen “Senior Crossing” signs with a silhouette of a man with a cane… seriously… I’ll have to look for that photo.
    Meanwhile, I love the snake and other signs. In my last house, I really needed a “Toad Crossing” sign. There were nights when they were everywhere.

  3. I’ve nominated you for a “Sisterhood of the World” blogging award, please see my post at:
    http://hoardercomesclean.wordpress.com/2014/01/07/best-holiday-gift-a-blogging-award/

    (couldn’t find a way to contact you except through comments)

  4. I’ve seen plenty of Roo & Wombat warning signs on the highways but never a Slow down for Snakes sign. . That video was unbelievable. Bet he got indigestion.

    • Yep- first time for me with snakes and bandicoots (which i didn’t get a photo of unfortunately) as the ranger was waiting to close the gates.
      Re the video – Most other youtube videos show the snake giving up. I was impressed that this one finished the job (even if he regretted it afterwards!)

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