Snake boxes are whimsical and diabolically ironic. The coiled snake boxes described in Mindy's post are created to have exploding coiled snakes. They are sight gags. This post shows a collection of carved wood book-shaped boxes that, when the foredge slide is shifted, a painted wooden snake equipped with a sharpened steel nail rears its ugly head.
Here is a photo of a group of snake boxes in Bruce's collection:
The snake operates by a string assembly, to emerge and strike on the finger, the one who naively opens the box. Grooves or applied hearts are situated along the slide to assure the nail's effectiveness. Make sure you have an up-to-date tetanus shot!
This snake book has a spine title: Vol. IIX. Ruth Love Hid Out of Site
Diabolical irony is expressed when a box has a heart on it or conveys deep affection on its outside but a painful experience when activated.
The whimsical aspect is clear in the funny shapes and polka dot painting of the wooden reptiles.