By Charles Towne

Of all government organizations the U.S. Peace Corps, by its very name denotes a benign, yes, even peaceful existence.  One can only imagine the pains the organizers have gone to in order to make the time served as safe as possible for the volunteers, but then one does tend to wonder.  After all, accidents do have a way of happening don’t they? People get caught up in wars, catch horrible diseases, are swallowed by..? Well, we’ll leave that to your hungry imaginer.

In the U.S. Government Peace Corps Manual for those volunteers serving in the Amazon jungles in the 1980s, there was this wonderful bit of advice for surviving an anaconda attack.  Keep in mind that the anaconda is the largest snake in the world. It is a constrictor achieving gargantuan lengths of thirty-five feet and weighing as much as four hundred pounds.

Listed below are the instructions as they were itemized in the manual:

(1)  If you are attacked by an anaconda do not run.  The snake is faster than you are.

(2)  Lie flat on the ground. Put your arms against your sides, your legs tight against one another.

(3)  Tuck your chin in.

(4)  The snake will come and begin to nudge and climb over your body.

(5)  Do not panic.

(6)  After the snake has examined you, it will begin to swallow you from the feet and always from the end.  Permit the snake to swallow your feet and your ankles. Do not panic.

(7)  The snake will now begin to suck your legs into its body.  You must be perfectly still. This will take a long time. Do not panic.

(8)  When the snake has reached your knees slowly and with as little movement as possible, reach down, take your knife and very gently slide it into the side of the snake’s mouth between the edge of its mouth and your leg, then suddenly rip upwards, severing the snake’s head.  Do not panic.

(9)  Be sure you have your knife.

(10)  Be sure your knife is sharp.  Do not panic.


That piece of misinformation must be taken at face value for it was, after all, a government manual.

I especially like the part where it repeats that somewhat meaningless advice, “Do not panic.”


“Now, at this point, I would like to apologize for using the ‘s’ word,  but you must understand that it is no more possible to talk about snakes without using the word snakes than it is possible to talk about sin without mentioning the word sin!.”


Dear Papa God, please help us not to exaggerate or spread misinformation.  Help us to remember that there are those gullible folks that are always quick to follow false or misleading information concerning nature, man, religion or politics.  Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, o Lord, my strength and my redeemer.” Praise you Father, and thank you for giving us wisdom and guiding us in all ways.  In Jesus wonderful and Holy name we ask it, Amen

Charles Towne is first and foremost a Christian. An octogenarian, author, journalist, wildlife photographer, naturalist, caregiver, and survivor, his life has been and continues to be, a never-ending adventure filled with possibilities never imagined. He has adopted the philosophy that to Live fully, laugh uproariously, love passionately, and learn like there is no tomorrow, is a formula for a long and joy-filled life.


  1. Hahahaha… this!!! Yes, next time I am being swallowed by a snake, I will wait until he gets me down his throat, only to my knee joints, though, without panic, before I pull my knife !!!! This is priceless!

  2. Herbert, I am pleased that you liked it. There are so many politicians that want to restrict or eliminate the rights of the people and they invariably say, “Trust us you gullible fools!, but whatever you do, don’t panic.” And we the people, trusting all the while, look down one day just as the snake reaches our chins and say, “but It is all right, we didn’t panic!” Chaz

  3. So thankful to know that common sense does not come in a gov’t manual! Will NOT be lying still in the path of an anaconda any time soon…but, if I do, I will NOT panic!

  4. My blessed friend and brother in Jesus, how fortunate I am to know people such as yourself that call the anaconda,s chosen place of residence home! WE WILL NOT PANIC! Chaz

  5. WOW!! Can’t remember the last time I needed good advice like that, but I sure won’t forget it.
    That’s what I love about
    ” common sense”….it ain’t common anymore!!
    Instructions do not always
    make sense! But, we could
    just use God’s manual and take
    it literally….”We are the head and not the tail”. So, if you are caught
    in a panic situation and a “head” is attacking you, use your head and remember God said YOU are the head! So take out your knife and
    cut that other head off before you become the tail. And remember to thank Him for helping you get ahead in this world.
    God bless you Chuck! Always good to get a chuckle.

  6. Dear CSG, i suppose we could call these short articles, “Chuck’s Chuckles!” or, “Chuckles from Chuck!” And you are so right about common sense not being common any more! Blessings on you and yours, Chaz

  7. O Mike, it aint all that bad! Remember to sharpen your knife. And remember to lay real still, after all, you are playing dead, and whatever you do, don’t panic! Chaz

  8. So, it’s true, ” We are the government and we are only here to help and make things better! “. Imagine some poor peace corps volunteer in the Amazon Basin trying to survive and NOT having that information! I bet anything that he would panic as soon as the snake started eating him! Doesn’t it say that He makes the foolish things to confound the wise? You think this would include government pamphlets?

  9. Oh, but Richars, it was a government pamphlet therefore it must be true! OK everybody, line up and get your Koolade, and drink it all, by all means drink it all! Chaz

  10. I am tired of all this negativity and furthermore, I find it unacceptable! Why without that information I would not be alive today! Your readers and you seem to find a great deal of humor in this but know this, it does save lives! When an anaconda started to eat me, it was this pamphlet that saved my life! The only problem was that I had let the blade of my knife get dull so it took an extraordinarily long time to saw off the snake’s head! That information saves lives!

  11. Dear Rio Joaque, you will pardon my brevity. I am ashamed of myself and my readers but having had to endure the prevailing political ordure that makes up much of the diet we are being fed today by the politicians and their ilk, if we didn’t laugh we would cry. Therefore our seemingly insensitive yackety, yackety, yackety…Please sharpen your knife, and whatever you do, don’t panic! Chaz

  12. This one gives me shivers! I can still remember stopping, after work, at a cypress swamp that had an area that was supposed to have a lot of bottles from the 1890’s. It was now mostly water with high ground every once in awhile! I thought I would look around with my long probe, and see what I could find. I was well into the interior when the weather changed and it suddenly got very dark. And, I was in the middle of the swamp with no flashlight! Normally I would have taken a knife and my Ruger .22 as well as a flashlight. All I could do was hope that my eyes would focus well enough that I could see the next patch of high ground, and finally get out of the dark swamp. I started to lift my foot and try to make it to the next high ground, that’s when I heard very loud HISS! So, I turned slightly and started to head for another high place, and heard another very loud HISS! Two water snakes, of the unfriendly type! It was now so dark I couldn’t see the snakes. I must have stood in that patch of dirt for at least 10-15 minutes, before I could work my way out. I never did see the two snakes that hissed at me, but I thanked the Lord for protecting this nut for going into a swamp unprepared!

  13. Don,being the weirdo I am I have been in similar situations a few times. The advice “Do not panic!” seems just a tad appropriate at such a time. Prayer does work doesn’t it pal? bless you pal. Chaz

  14. I’m a stranger to this site, but I enjoyed reading it and the comments. I realize snake attacks are rare but also serious. Thanks for handling it a funny way. I have a relatively large fear of snakes, so your method of handling it was enjoyable. I do understand the one comment above (how the pamphlet and instructions did actually save his life). I’m glad it does work, but I’ll remember how you handled it anyways. And next time I see such a snake, I won’t panic!!!


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