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Not-All-That-Deadly Snakes

Animal Planet keeps running these ads--"King Cobra! Anaconda! Two Deadly Snakes!" and I keep grumbling to myself about it. So damnit, I'm gonna bitch.

King cobras may well be deadly snakes. I have no problem with that. I think they probably will leave you alone if you don't accidentally step on 'em, but I wouldn't neccessarily want to live in the same room with one for an extended period. I have a great deal of respect for things with poison. But I feel indignant on behalf of the anaconda.

Everything I know about snakes I learned from my father, who raised boa constrictors for many years and taught me that snakes are not scary, but should be respected at all costs. (Occasionally you may want to respect them from across the room and behind glass, mind you.) And one of the things that I learned, via an endless succession of bunnies vanishing down slow pink maws, was that even a really enormous contrictor, while it may be able to squeeze you uncomfortably, just can't eat all that big a meal. A fifteen foot boa, while weighing rather a lot, is generally content with a bunny. Yes, a reticulated python (one of the ones best respected from a safe distance) can be a cantankerous snake and may sink a tooth into an idiot human who has been recently handling rats and smells of prey, but they don't eat 'em. They couldn't even begin to get one down. And anacondas, by all accounts, being boas, are much more mild-mannered than reticulated pythons.

So I kinda resent the characterization of anacondas as deadly. Yes, they can eat an immature tapir or a capybara, yes, wild pig, sure, and if you threw a hungry one a toddler, I can't say it wouldn't be able to eat it. But if we're going by "Could eat a toddler if it was hungry," then practically everything's deadly, especially dingos, and I don't see Animal Planet running "One Deadly Canine! Baby-eating dingos attack!" Yes, there have been a few reports of people attacked by anacondas. However, there are rather more substantiated, well-documented reports of people killed by ostriches every year, and no one begins advertising the ostrich as a feathered killing machine.

So that's my gripe on behalf of the poor anaconda, which really doesn't deserve the rap, damnit.


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Just the whole "Jerry Springer camera" angle they did with the commercial got to me. They kept showing shots of this guy tangled up in a snake, pretend wrestling with it on the ground and splashing around in the water. Even with the commercial on mute, I saw that and was like, "Give me a break." I have no interest in watching that show.

I was originally going to write saying, "Maybe they mean 'deadly to small furry animals"....?", but I had not seen the commercial. Le sigh. ;p

Yay for media hype.

Feathered Killing Machine!!!

It's the other end of the pendulum swing from the 50's Disney nature documentaries, where all bears and deer were cute and cuddly, and mean ol' predators never caught their prey. In our X-treme™ age, focusing on intricate (real) animal behavior takes much more brain-power than Joe Six-pack is willing to expend to appreciate, and "cute and cuddly" is gay... so that leaves BLOOD and DEATH for entertainment value, even if it isn't connected to reality.

We're raising a generation of people who, because of television, "know" lots of stuff... and all that knowledge is seriously flawed.

*nods* I would guess that what elevates constrictors' bad rap for being dangerous is people's irrational fear of snakes. When your afraid of something, it sure does look a whole lot more dangerous than everything else, but if you think about it, virtually everything has the potential to be "deadly" and "dangerous". (Gotta watch out for them paperclips!!!)

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Feathered what? Oh my god! Ostriches must be banned, for the good of the children!

(I wonder how hard it is to convince people one's been savaged by an ostrich. 'Let me get this straight. You were attacked by the larval stage of those fans burlesque dancers use?')

Wigu knows the answer...



Just thought I'd add my 2 cents....

I saw the same commercials for said show and I had the same reaction as you. "Anacondas? WTF?" Blame the movie industry I guess. But Animal Planet should know better.

Deadly? Try the flippin' feral dogs that live around here. They haven't been trained at all, they're allowed to run totally free, and they have absolutely no fear of humans whatsoever. They also have the general temprament of a rabid Chihuahua (sp?).

Damsel fish are about the size of my pinky nail, and they are insane, vicious fish that will attack everything that enters their territory, no matter the size. I have swum in waters that contain these little bastards, as well as rays, sharks, and barracudas. The damsel fish tried to rip off my head. The barracuda, both sharks, and the ray swam in the opposite direction as fast as they could.
And yet, no one has ever done a documentary on the "Killers of the Sea! Damsel Fish!"

Don't even get me started on the general temprament of your average koala. And, having had pecans thrown at me with deadly accuracy, I am not about to regard a squirrel as cute and cuddly, either. I'll bet that geese attack more people a year than lions, wolves, or bears do, and from what I understand, swans have about the same temprament.

Joe Six-Pack seems to have a cognitive disconnect on what is dangerous and what isn't.

Um, well, having just had my pencil-thin-never-having-a-hope-in-heck-of-swallowing-a-budgie baby tree snake escape and show up a week later on top of a quick 'n' nippy (now dead) budgie, I beg to differ on the harmless part.

Just because a snake couldn't ever hope of swallowing, much less digesting, something, doesn't mean it's not fully capable of killing it. A measly ball python around the neck can strangle a child fairly quickly.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all for snakey education, and you're entirely right about the bulk of them staying out of your way unless you make a serious trespass. However, never underestimate the killing capacity, as well as the horrible judgement capabilities (as to swallowing size) of a barely-nugget-size-brained animal such as a snake. They have awesome regurgitation powers, too, in case they accidentally get halfway over something too big. Trust me, it's gross.

And yes, anacondas are often more calm-acting than retics. Generally. And that's exactly why they're so much more dangerous. Most deaths due to snake keeping (for hobyists) are caused by none other than the sweet natured burmese pythons. Reaching usually no more than 18', they have little to no hope of swallowing a child, much less a grown human. However, they are fully capable of suffocating either. The reason they cause so many deaths is because people are lulled into a false sense of security around their 'pussycat' snake, until one day, that snake hits an off-mood.

And yes, there are many people out there who have kept snakes for 'all these years, and never had an issue'. But smart snake-keeping is cautious snake-keeping.

Trust me. I despise shows that glorify animal attacks, since most (not all) are caused by natural reactions and instincts on the part of the animal (and a lot of the time involve stupid people). And snakes are easy targets since they bring up some pretty base instincts in most people. But I've been dealing with snakes for many years, and anacondas deserve a ton of respect. Any snake over 10' should be considered potentially lethal. And man, can they ever be MEAN suckers!!!


Now, I never said "harmless"...but certainly not "deadly" in the same sense as a cobra. Yes, a big constrictor could concievably kill you. But so could a medium sized dog, and yet sensationalism does not paint Canis familiaris as a deadly slaughtering machine.

Given the choice between the anaconda and the ostrich, I know which one I'd rather be in a room with.

Well, that's not a very fair comparison, now is it? Ostriches are DAMN scary!!! Brrrrr.... LOL!

I'm going to have to agree with you there. I once visited an ostrich farm and saw two of the birds squabbling over something; I don't want to be within a couple meters of one of them unless there's a solid fence or wall of some sort in the way.

Sign me up for the apartment with the anaconda.

I had such high hopes for AP. Do they have any shows that /aren't/ about A) Vicious Bloodsucking Beasts!!!!! or B) Rescuing Cute Puppies?

Yes. C) OMGLook the dog is having babies!!!!!!!! They're so kyoooot!!!!!!!!! ^^ Everybody's dog should have kyoot baybeeeezzzz!!!!!!!111111!!!~one!!!1~~~!!!!!!

It's the same hype that most other animals get when they're non-mammilian, and don't look cute and fuzzy for the average viewer. People get irrationally stupid about a multitude of things, where common sense should have been foremost in their mind. Alot of reptile owners who have never encountered problems with their charges is due to the fact they don't go putting them on their necks, poking them with sticks to get them to "do something" or otherwise making them miserable. (Only recently did people also discover that if you cool off your hands before touchign a ectotherm do they react less. Well, if I was a creature who's body temperature was 45 degrees, if something touched me at 92, I'd feel it's too hot aswell and try to escape...)
Alot of creatures suffer under the yoke of propogandic media, so it's not surprising. those who get away scot free are ones that are popular because the majority of people like them, two foremost cases being: Horses and dolphins.
Now a horse not only is (in my opinion) a rather ungaily and strange looking animal, but it's big. and can get grumpy, and trample you to death with ease. A bite from one of them can be a severe thing, and their kicks aren't to be fooled with. We don't see any documentaries about "Barnyard Blood!-The Horse, killer of the Pasture!" Why? Because there's a big thing where peopel get lulled into thinking domestic means subservient and will nevr harm a human.
Dolphins, on the other hand, aslo revel in plentiful popularity, which keeps thier nastier habits under wraps. Nobody tells of angry dolphins drowning humans, hammering them in the gut like they do sharks for sport or even poking them with genitilia.
You should hear the reactions of soem peopel when I tell them my pets include roaches. It's all subliminal sociological propoganda. They immediatly think I have hordes of them being a living carpet and a filthy home. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I can verify this, considering I've been working with and around horses for almost a decade. There are also several snakes on the property, including red-bellies and brown snakes.

Number of horse-caused injuries: 9
Number of snake-caused injuries: 0

The snakes go for their lives whenever you come anywhere near them. The horses, when they get pissy, take it out on you. Trust me, it isn't pretty.

See, I worry about Cassowaries- the modern-day velociraptor. Nightmares, seriously.

I've had major problems with Animal Planet & its associates recently, especially after 'Shark Week!!one1!' a few months ago- they weren't introducing anything new; they were simply reinforcing people's already-quite-solid-thank-you-very-much fear of our dear little boneless fish... I swear, they could make whale sharks seem like the bane of the high seas.

-C

Nurse Sharks--scourge of the sand!

Now Nurse Sharks do account for a LOT of sharkbites. Whyyyyy? Because they sit on the sand like a giant catfish with their head under a rock and the tourist goes "oh, how cool, a nurse shark, they're docile!" and grabs them by the tail and drags them out from under their rock for a picture. Now, if anyone grabbed MY arse and dragged me out from under somehing, I'd sure as heck bite. And thats exactly what the sharks do.

Why do these people expect that the shark will like being hauled around and hurt?

It should really be renamed "When Darwin Attacks"

Hmm.. we never mentioned emu's. I once had a boss who raised them and I was volunteered to clean the cages. Have you ever had a six foot two bird make a pass at you ?!? well, have you? Bird lover takes on a whole new unwelcome pallor in that context.
Well going to go now,
Greg

"The dingos ate your baby!" Sorry bad movie quote moment.

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