2012-08-15 / Editorials

All That’s Fit to Print

Nature on the loose
Brenda Wall

What a way to start a day. It’s 5 a.m. and I start up my computer to get a first read of the news and I spy a story about a giant snake. I have such a weakness for giant snake stories.

This giant snake is, or was, a Burmese python caught in the Everglades. She was 17 feet 7 inches long, weighed 164.5 pounds and was carrying 87 eggs. Yikes.

Now, one might think the interesting part of this story is the size of the snake and the number of eggs she was carrying. It is true, she is a record setter, but that’s only part of what really grabbed my attention.

The University of Florida has had this thing in the freezer since May and is just now pulling it out and talking about it.

If it had been my dead snake, she would have been riding around in the back of a pickup truck for everyone to see. I would be parked on the square accepting compliments on my snake killing skills. I guess that’s the difference between academics and regular folk.

News reports noted the snake was euthanized and, from the photos, I’m guessing neither a hoe nor machete was used. The snake didn’t have a mark on her.

She probably does now, since the Florida Museum of Natural History at Florida pulled her out of the freezer to study her “internal anatomy.” I wonder how long it took her to thaw.

In retrospect, they probably kept her in the freezer several months to make sure she was good and dead, not just euthanized.

Pythons are a real problem in South Florida and have slowly built up a large population in the Everglades over the last 25 years. Trappers have caught as many as 14 in one day.

The problem is blamed on pet owners who set their pythons free in the wild. The rest is snake history and eradication is a priority with the state.

In other news, Germany has a nature problem of its own. Three kangaroos escaped from a German zoo with the help of a pig and a fox. Really.

Two kangaroos were recaptured, but a third is still footloose and fancy free.

The escape was coordinated with the help of feral pigs and foxes who lived in the woods outside the zoo.

The foxes dug under a fence into the zoo. The kangaroos used that hole to escape their enclosure and then took advantage of another hole under another fence dug by the pigs.

To be realistic, I don’t think there was a conspiracy amongst the animals. I think it was luck on the kangaroos’ part although I did have a cocker spaniel once who waited for the golden retrievers to dig an escape hatch. She watched. They dug. She high tailed it as soon as the hole was big enough for her, leaving them inside the fence looking goofy.

Have a good week.

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