Along the banks of the Kings River in Central California, there is a tale of a bird that is so beautiful and so elusive, few have ever seen it. No one has ever captured the bird, but there are a few blurry photos and artist renditions created by those lucky enough to have caught a glimpse of this mysterious bird. It goes by several names among the locals, Snape, Snipe, and the most common, Snark.
Artist rendition from a possible Snark sighting
It is a tradition, actually a rite of passage, to go on a Snark Hunt along the river banks. The person fortunate enough to catch the elusive snark will be granted unfathomable amounts of good luck, and the prestige of having caught the Snark. There are few accounts of this actually happening, and most have been discredited by skeptics and unbelievers.
The conditions must be just right for Snark hunting. Some believe it is the light of the full moon that draw them out, others believe it is the darkness of the new moon that makes the snark feel safe enough to venture out of its hidden habitat. A large burlap bag is required for capture, and calling out “Here snark, snark,” garners the bird’s interest. The snark hunter initiate is often left alone by the rest of the group in the hopes that the shy bird will show itself. This method of snark hunting rarely, if ever, works, leading to the belief that the snark is a fictional character.
Burlap Snark Capture Bag
We at Vetter Snark have taken it upon ourselves to join the search for the elusive snark, and after much study and research have found some interesting things about this mysterious and fabulous bird. Most amazing of all is that tales and searches for the elusive bird aren’t exclusive to the Kings River Valley, but are a worldwide phenomenon. Generations global wide have participated in the search for the bird, and passed down incredible stories about the occasional capture or glimpse of this amazing creature. Some of these stories are embedded in fables and mythology, such as the Russian Firebird, the Turkish Konrul, and the Native American Rain Bird, but there is always some truth in the genesis of folklore.
We also found out why a burlap bag rarely works in the capture of a Snark. They would rather be caught dead than be seen in an itchy, plain and often smelly burlap bag. Snarks say other snark’s opinions don’t matter to them, but in this case, it does. The other snarks make fun of them, and say if the hunter didn’t take the time to get a nice comfortable bag, why did they shame themselves into hopping into such an awful sack? Some snark hunters have revealed success in capturing a snark by using a bedazzled bag or a hand-painted canvas tote. Snark lures, as these bags are called, have become quite the thing among this group, but they are almost as secretive as snarks, keeping their methods and achievements to themselves.
An Effective Snark Lure Bag
Another rumored successful snark lure is anything that sparkles. They are similar to crows and magpies, if it shines, it gets their attention. The theory is that the birds mistake shiny objects for food, especially younger birds, but in the case of snarks, they really are attracted to shiny things. While they love real jewelry, they enjoy crystals and rhinestones just as much. If you find some of your costume jewelry or favorite rhinestone jacket missing, chances are a snark has borrowed it and will return it once you have forgotten about it.
Sparkly Snark Lures
If you are lucky enough to capture and hold the attention of a snark, what do you feed it? Some of the experts we spoke to in our travels said that the snarks favorite food is ripe cherries. We believe this to be true based on the firebird folklore where the firebird snuck in and stole the prince’s favorite fruit. Another fabled favorite is golden apples. Snarks absolutely do not like grapes though, unless the fruit has been fermented, aged and bottled. Like many birds, they enjoy grain, but prefer it malted and distilled.
Preferred Snark Libations
Snarks are known omnivores, and some have various dietary restrictions, but believe it is a personal preference and choice instead of a physical absolute in most cases. An interesting thing about snarks is that while they share their dietary type with other snarks and offer dietary tips, they don’t judge what another snark eats or doesn’t eat, instead are more focused on what is on their own plate.
It is unknown if Snarks prefer coffee or tea or both, sweetened or unsweetened, and how it affects them. We’ve heard various rumors but haven’t confirmed them. One theory is that some snarks can’t function without caffeine, and the other theory is that coffee or tea makes the snark much snarkier, and increases their sarcasm level. We’ll report when we find out more about this.
Coffee or Tea, please
While it was originally believed that the Snarks only habitat was along the riverbanks among the rushes and in the shade of oak trees, but research has shown that snarks live in a variety of habitats, from the most remote rural areas to parks and small gardens in crowded cities. Some are total beach bums, enjoying sand, sunshine and upsetting seagulls. Others prefer city parks and apartment balconies, and playing tricks on the annoying street savvy pigeons. One variety prefers the isolation of the deep forest and getting to the berries before the bears do. Another variety enjoys the high desert with few neighbors, time for deep philosophical thoughts and engages in teaching rattlesnakes the art of flying.
At Vetter Snark, we have enjoyed researching and revealing some of these legendary facts, and hopes it aids in your own quest for the elusive Snark. Now you know that the Snark can be found almost anywhere, and have an idea of some the things it likes and dislikes, and how to attract it. We look forward to sharing more articles as more information is revealed to us in our research and travels.
Some Helpful links to get you started: