a conservative heretic commenting on hypocrisy and stupidity in a world with too much of both
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For Goodness Snakes!

I don’t care much for snakes although I’m not really afraid of them unless, of course, they have big gnarly teeth, have a reall bad attitude or are longer than my arm. Then, I confess, I become a tad apprehensive but I have a growing sense that we’re all going to have to get used to snakes more than ever before.

Goodness snakes; they’re everywhere these days – even in the news.

So many people have released their Burmese and African Rock pythons in Florida that the Department of Wildlife has given up trying to eradicatesnake 2 them all. Those little buggers have settled in quite nicely and are breeding like bunnies. The Burmese python has aclimatized in the Everglades while the African Rock python, which is more of an up-town kind of snake has settled in around Miami. No doubt because of the Mai Tais and Latin music.

The snake situation in Florida is so out of control, that they hold an annual catch and capture (or kill) in the Everglades every year with large cash prizes awarded for the winners who capture the biggest and the most snakes. It draws almost as many folks as a Black Friday sale.

Personally, I’m not much of a fan of the Everglades either.

Even before the pythons showed up, there were just too many creepy-crawly things out there. Some like ‘gators’ were as big as my car and could eat your feet off and quite frankly, I’m not much of a great outdoorsman. I consider camping and roughing it to be a hotel without room service so I’m not really all that comfortable with tramping through miles of swamp looking for snakes while trying not to get eaten by an alligator.

Still, it appears that the pythons are here to stay and one wonders how long it will be before they spread their wings, metaphorically speaking, and start migrating north. I doubt they’ll make it to Canada. It’s pretty cold up here so I’m not overly concerned about it or at least I wouldn’t be if the snake-thing ended there but, of course, it doesn’t.

In November, it was revealed that a family in Saskatchewan had more than 300 snakes in their home and by my calculations that’s approximately 300 too many. That’s even more snakes than sit in the House of Commons in Ottawa.

snake6It appears that the family likes snakes and didn’t mind the odd one but since the long-form census got tossed by the Conservative government, I guess they found it increasingly difficult to keep track of just how many snakes were living with them. Once the family started to get a handle on it, they decided that 300 was more than they needed and the round-up began.

But here’s what I don’t get. How can you live in a small home with 300 snakes in it and not be aware of the fact that your home is over-run? Even without all the usual census data, don’t you think that after a bit more than one or two of those snakes would be found slithering around frequently?

I remember growing up, my mother had a cleaning lady name Margaret. She’d come on Saturdays and help out. Margaret would tackle the upstairs while my mother would dust and vacuum downstairs. Usually around 11:00 or so, my mother would make them tea and they’d sit and chat for a bit – my mother never figured out that she was paying Margaret for tea time.

We had two bathrooms; one upstairs and one down. Each of the ladies took one bathroom to clean and on this particular day, my mother was doing whatever when a Gosh Almighty shriek came from upstairs. My mother rushed upstairs to find Margaret breathless and hysterical in the hall pointing at the bathroom. My mother went in, lifted the lid on the toilet to find a reasonably large black bull snake curled up at the bottom.

We lived in a duplex back then and our neighbours who resembled the Adams family had a small menagerie of exotic animals including an oscelot, a very small alligator and – apparently – a black bull snake which had fled their home and used the plumbing system to come visit us.

My father was dispatched to do something about it which resulted in going to the neighbours and demanding they come and get their snake. It  didn’t do much to reassure folks and it was a long time before people used the toilet in the upstairs bathroom – including my father.

So, I kind of related to the story about the family with 300 snakes but what amazed me was just how blasé they were about it considering how my family reacted to just one.,

I promise you that if there was only one found in our place toiday, no matter how small it might be, Maggie would have us and the dogs in a car on our way to Inuvik until some critter removal company cleansed the house of the little bugger.

It’s been my experience that while Eve may have got along quite well with the serpent in the Garden of Eden, most women and not just a few mensnake 7 don’t much care for snakes.

Still, they occupy some kind of fascination for most of us and thousands tuned into the Discovery Channel this week to watch a guy get eaten alive by a giant anaconda. Now there’s television programming worth sitting back with a fresh bowl of popcorn to watch.

The only problem was that he didn’t actually get eaten, much to the disappointment of the viewers who were hoping to watch the snake in action. The snake did constrict around the guy who was wearing a special suit to protect himself – but — it didn’t get to eat him. It crushed his arm and then opened its jaws around the guy’s head and that’s when our hero decided that serious reconsideration was in order.

His team pulled the snake away from him and Twitter lit up with expressions of disappointment. PETA expressed its dismay over the treatment of the snake and Canada’ Veteran’s Affairs Minister, Julian Fantino, went back to desperately trying to find someone in Canada he hasn’t yet offended.

We were hardly over our disappointment that nobody got eaten alive (or dead) on Discovery when another guy threw a snake at workers at a Tim Horton’s in Saskatchewan. Apparently he wanted his onions diced but the workers refused so, he threw a snake he was conveniently carrying in his pocket at them.

It was only a garter snake but it begs the question, what kind of person wanders around with a snake in his pocket?

snake 1Of course, you have to ask yourself why someone would volunteer to be eaten by an anaconda too but I’m long passed trying to figure out some people. There seems to be a growing number of folks who are disconnected from anything even closely resembling reality and that is troubling for the rest of us who have a grip on it – no matter how tenuous that grip might be.

My concern now is where all this is leading. You can almost predict that soon, government will introduce legislation to toughen up snake ownership. They may even launch a national snake registry at which point legitimate snake owners will rise up in arms claiming that it is only illegal snakes that are a problem and that snakes don’t kill people, people kill people.

Unimpressed by such pleadings, the government will no doubt press forward with restrictions on automatic and semi-automatic snakes and there might even be a requirement for owners of such snakes to turn them in. At that point you can almost bet that some faded movie star will step forward, his Burmese Rock python wrapped around his neck, saying “You can have my snake when you pry it from my cold dead hands.”

I have no problem with that but if you’re going on to the next life – for goodness snakes – take your snake with you. We already have enough snakes squeezing the lifeblood out of us in this country

They’re called politicians.

     

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© 2014 Maggie’s Bear

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Twitter: @maggsbear – Facebook: Maggie’s Bear  – ivmaki@sympatico.ca

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