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.




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


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.*


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.)


* 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)

Categories: Other

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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:

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  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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