This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V21", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Snakes do swallow their young. When a boy and living in Orange County, New York, about 1837 to 1840, I suddenly came upon a snake known as the speckled and striped, or garter snake. It was disposed to fight as I thought, showing much excitement and alarm. 1 was surprised at its demonstrations, remained quiet and watched it; when to my astonishment a number of tiny snakes rapidly approached her and began running into her mouth. It was only the work of a minute or two when all were stowed away within the body of the parent snake, and she attempted to slowly crawl away and get out of danger. I placed my foot on her head, with a forked stick held the body at length, and with my knife ripped her open and counted twenty one young snakes taken out of her. I have known a species of the black snake do the same thing. The rattlesnake, Crotalus horridus also swallows its young at the approach of danger.
Some people who have captured these reptiles, and afterwards the young came out of them, were lead into the erroneous belief that they are viviparous instead of oviparous. I may have something further to say about the anat-omy of these reptiles before the year closes, that is not to be found in any Natural History I have seen.