Topic: "You Snake in the Grass"
One of the inhabitants of the Atlanta Zoo is having a problem which, Frodo must admit, is not exactly something he ever imagined to be a problem outside the world of Hobbithood. According to Brad Lock, the assistant curator of herpetology at Zoo Atlanta, Blu, an Eastern Indigo Snake, which is a threatened species, has a low sperm count.
"Dr. Lock, are you telling me that Blu can't get it up?," queried Frodo.
"Well Frodo, Blu was born here in Zoo Atlanta in 1988, and we have learned that he has about 650,000 sperm per milliliter with a motility of about 60 percent. A healthy count for both Hobbits and snakes is for a reading of about 1 and 3 million sperm per milliliter with 90 percent motility," replied Dr. Lock.
"Does that mean that not only is Blu a little short on ammunition, but that it doesn't do much even if it lands in the right place?," asked our inquisitve amateur herpetologist.
"Well, that's pretty much the case," said Dr. Lock. "So once we understood the problem, Dr. Mark Mitchell an LSU assistant professor of zoological medicine joined Zoo Atlanta veterinarian Mark Rivera and I in performing artificial insemination on a female Eastern Indigo currently on loan to Zoo Atlanta, using Blu's sperm."
"Is this a common procedure?," asked Frodo.
"No Frodo," said Dr. Lock, "as far as we know, it has never been tried before, that is using an endoscope."
"Yes, we inserted a lubricated lighted tubelike device into her cloacal opening, which contains her reproductive tract after sedating her, of course." answered Dr. Lock.
"Oh, of course, but isn't there a more banal term for 'cloacal opening' in reptiles?," mused Frodo.
Without acknowledging, Dr. Lock went on to explain that he was able to check the progress of the endoscope on a television monitor and confirm the arrival of sperm in the snake's ovaducts.
"So is that it, we just witnessed an Eastern Indigo getting 'knocked up'?, said Frodo.
"Well Frodo, we won't really know for about two months, and then it will be even longer before she lays about a half dozen eggs or so," smiled Dr. Lock.
"Hmm," mouthed Frodo, "was any of this pleasurable to the participants?"
Dr. Lock stared at Frodo, and with a total dead-pan replied, "I'm not sure, but she wanted a cigarette when it was all over."
Frodo has missed his calling. He should've been a wise ass vet.