Clearly, one kind of curiosity is “What kind of ____ is that?” For all that I have trouble with some kinds of curiosity (stuff for another post) I don’t have much trouble with this one. For example, yesterday I saw a dead snake at the side of the road (actually my dog saw it first and drew my attention to it). I had never seen a snake like it before and immediately noted various characteristics so that I could look it up in our nature guide when I got home: gray, with brown stripes, about two and a half feet long, a narrow not triangular head, an unusually tapering tail, and a particularly shiny skin. Something about it gave me the impression that it was a constrictor, and I almost wondered if it was someone’s pet boa escaped and come to an untimely end.
I couldn’t find an exact match in the family Golden Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians, but I am fairly sure that what we saw was some kind of king snake. Since this, apparently, is also one of the most common kinds of snake in the USA that makes real sense.
This kind of curiosity always tugs at me. I indulge in it mainly when I am on vacation because it can take a fair amount of time and miss it when I can’t. I find it very satisfying to know something at the end of the day that I didn’t at the beginning and the older I get the more I am thrilled by what I experience in nature.