The moccasin and the water-viper have occasionally been mentioned under the name of Trigonocephalus cenchris, one of the many synonyms.
Lachesis has the upper surface of the head covered. with very small shields, or with scales, and contains about 40 species, in S. and Central America, the Antilles and also in S.E. Asia. The most ill-famed is L. s. Bothrops s. Craspedocephalus lanceolatus, which inhabits the greater part of S. America, extending into Mexico and the Lower Antilles. notably Martinique, Guadaloupe and Santa Lucia, where it is known as the “Fer de Lance”; Mexicans call it “rabo de hueso” or bone-tail, on account of the curiously coloured and spike-like tip of the tail. It is a very quick and highly irascible beast and even known to turn on its pursuer. It grows to a length of 6 ft., lives in swamps, plantations, forests, on the plains and on the hills, and is very prolific, producing dozens of young, which at birth are 10 in. long and as vicious as their parents.
L. s Trimeresurus gramineus s. viridis s. erythurus is one of the Asiatic species, ranging over the whole of India to Hong-kong, Timor and even to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It is arboreal,bright green above; the end of the prehensile tail is usually bright red.
(H. F. G.)
SNAPDRAGON, or Antirrhinum (Gr. ῥἰς, ῥινὀς, snout, from the shape of the flower), a plant of the natural order Scrophulariaceae (q.v.), native to central and south Europe, occurring as an alien on old walls in Britain. It is an old-fashioned garden perennial of easy cultivation. Antirrhinum majus, sown in heat, and forwarded until the general time for planting out, becomes a summer annual, and may be so treated; but under a slower and more hardy regime it may be sown in boxes in August, and pricked off into other boxes and wintered in a frame. So treated, and planted out in well-prepared beds of good friable garden soil, it will become very showy and effective. The “Tom Thumb” or dwarf strain, obtainable in self and mixed colours, is a very valuable plant for bedding. The named sorts are propagated by cuttings, and wintered in a frame. Some of the double-flowered sorts are interesting. There are forms with white, yellow, rose, crimson, magenta, and variously mottled and striped flowers, some of them of great beauty, but the named sorts are too fugitive to make it desirable to record a list.
SNEEK, a town in the province of Friesland, Holland, to the west of Sneek lake, 14 m by rail S.S.W. of Leeuwarden, with which it is also connected by canal. Steam tramways connect it S.E. with Heerenveen and N.W. with Bolsward and Harlingen. Pop. (1900) 12,075. Sneek is one of the great butter and cheese markets of the province. One of the former city gates (1615) remains, and there are a town hall, communal buildings (1863), court-house, weigh-house, synagogue and churches of various denominations, in one of which is the tomb of the naval hero of the 16th century, Lange, or Groote Pier (Long or Great Peter). The horse-fair of Sneek is widely attended, and there is a considerable activity in trade and shipping.
SNEEZING (O. Eng. fnēosung, from fnēosan, to sneeze, cf. Dutch fnlezen, allied to the obsolete neeze, and ultimately to be referred to root seen in Gr. πνεἲν, to breathe; the initial s is due to association with numerous words, such as snort, snuff, snore, &c.), a violent expiration of air from the nose and mouth; it is an involuntary reflex respiratory act; caused by irritation of the nerve-endings of the mucous membrane of the nose or by stimulation of the optic nerve by a bright light. The irritation may be due to the swelling of the nasal mucous membrane, which occurs in catching cold, sneezing being often a premonitory or accompanying symptom, or to foreign bodies in the nose, as by inhalation of snuff or other “errhines” or “sternutatories.” A venerable and widespread belief survives in the custom of saying “God bless you” when a person sneezes. The Hindus say “live,” to which the answer “with you” is given (E.B. Tylor, Primitive Culture, i. 101). A sneeze was considered a sign or omen from the gods by the Greeks and Romans; it was one of the many common everyday occurrences which if coming at an important moment could be interpreted as presaging the future. There are many allusions to it in classical literature, e.g. Homer, Od. xvii. 561, Plutarch, Themist. 13, Xenophon, Anab. iii. 2 and Catullus, Carm. 45. There are references to it in Rabbinical literature, and it has been found in Otaheite, Florida and the Tonga Islands.
SNELL, HANNAH (1723–1792), the “female soldier,” was born at Worcester on the 23rd of April 1723, being the daughter of a hosier. In order to seek her husband, who had ill-treated and abandoned her, in 1745 she donned man's attire and enlisted as a soldier in Guise's regiment of foot, but soon deserted, and shipped on board the sloop “Swallow” under her brother-in-law's name of James Gray. The “Swallow” sailed in Boscawen's fleet to the East Indies, and took part in the siege of Araapong. Hannah served in the assault on Pondicherry and was wounded, but she succeeded in extracting the bullet without calling in a surgeon. When recovered she served before the mast on the “Tartar” and the “Eltham,” but when paid off she resumed woman's costume. Her adventures were published as The Female Soldier, or the Surprising Adventures of Hannah Snell (1750), and she afterwards gave exhibitions in military uniform in London. She died insane in Bethlehem Hospital on the 8th of February 1792.
SNELL, JOHN (1629–1679), founder of the Snell exhibitions at Oxford, was born in 1629 in Ayrshire, Scotland, the son of a blacksmith. He joined the royalists during the civil war, and fought in several battles, including Worcester. Thereafter he took refuge in Cheshire, where he met Sir Orlando Bridgeman, whose clerk he became, being raised to the offices of court-crier and seal-bearer as his patron was promoted to those of judge and Lord Keeper. Later he was secretary to the Duke of Monmouth and had the management of his Scottish estates. He died at Oxford on the 6th of August 1679, leaving a bequest for sending students from Glasgow University to an Oxford college or hall. The Court of Chancery decided in 1693 that Balliol should receive the beneficiaries.
SNELL, WILLEBRORD (1591–1626), commonly known as Snellius, Dutch astronomer and mathematician, was born at Leiden in 1591. In 1613 he succeeded his father Rudolph Snell (1546–1613) as professor of mathematics in the university of Leiden. In 1615 he planned and carried into practice a new method of finding the dimensions of the earth, by determining the distance of one point on its surface from the parallel of another, by means of a triangulation. His work Eratosthenes Batavus, published in 1617, describes the method and gives as the result of his operations between Alkmaar and Bergen-op-Zoom a degree of the meridian equal to 55,100 toises=117,449 yds. (A later recalculation gave 57,033 toises =121,569 yds., after the application of some corrections to the measures indicated by himself.) Snell also distinguished himself as a mathematician, and discovered the law of refraction, in 1621 (see Light). He died at Leiden on the 90th of October 1626.
SNIPE (O. Eng. Snite, Icel. Snípa, Dutch Snip, Ger. Schnepfe), one of the commonest Limicoline birds, in high repute no less for the table than for the sport it affords. It is the Scolopax gallinago of Linnaeus, but by later writers it has been separated from that genus, the type of which is the Woodcock (q.v.), and has been named Gallinago caelestis. Though considerable numbers are still bred in the British Islands, notwithstanding the diminished area suitable for them, most of those that fall to the gun are undoubtedly of foreign origin, arriving from Scandinavia towards the close of summer or later, and many will outstay the winter if the weather be not too severe, while the home-bred birds emigrate in autumn to return the following spring. Of later years British markets have been chiefly supplied from abroad, mostly from Holland.
The variegated plumage of the Snipe is subject to no inconsiderable variation, especially in the extent of dark markings on the belly, flanks, and axillaries, while examples are occasionally seen in which no trace of white, and hardly any of buff or grey,