Saturday, October 08, 2005

Wally Gator and Kaa Do Lunch. Rush and Rosie Take Precautions.

I suppose by now you have heard about Florida's exploding python problem. Actually, I don't consider it that big of a problem as long as it isn't occurring on public transportation in the seat next to me. For one thing, I would MUCH rather see a python "go off" than have a chance to sneak up on me. It isn't the sort of thing that you would be sad to have smashed with the grille of your vehicle, like, say, a butterfly, or your family room wall. It sounds more like a detective case set in the deepest Amazon. Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Python Exploding in the Night-Time. "Quick, Watson, the game's afoot!" Watson peers suspiciously at the jungle floor. "My dear Holmes, the game appears to have detonated." The python in question had swallowed much more than a can of baked beans. The snake was less than six feet long at the start of the incident. It had its eye on dinner, which in Florida tends to be mostly a chain restaurant meal. But in the wild, I suppose, anything moving might look edible to a python, so it apparently seized an adult-sized alligator. One that was closer to 10 feet in length than six. Unfortunately there is no videotaped footage of the struggle or subsequent explosion. There is only the remains of the python skin with the alligator's hindquarters protruding from its snake belly. But isn't it creepy to think a python can open its jaws THAT WIDE to begin with? If the AARP hasn't already sent out a senior citizen alert on this, it ought to issue one tomorrow. Let's face it, any species that thinks alligators are edible is not to be trifled with. Most of me did NOT want to know that the Everglades contains pythons. Another of my growing list of reasons to encounter nature solely on film or in theme park costumes. But even though alligators are as prevalent as mosquitoes, I don't have any objections to the python population trying to consume them. I don't care who wins! The reason there are pythons in the Everglades is that stupid python owners get tired of feeding them and drop them off in the swamp. Once they are no longer housed in your bathtub they can grow to virtually ANY length. (Source: My Overactive Imagination) It is only a matter of time before they start growing to 30 feet long and start swallowing NASCAR vehicles and tourist buses. There have been four other documented cases of alligator/python battles, with more sure to come. I imagine "exploding pythons" has the potential to evolve into a tourist attraction, ranking right up there with "storm surge" and "shark encounter." Apparently scientists were aware of the danger all along, and were secretly hoping that the local alligators would tame the python population and keep it from growing. Yep, looks like everything is under control! Like the time my toddler told me he had "cleaned" the bathroom with the baby powder. With each momma snake producing up to 100 hatchlings, it looks like the problem isn't going away anytime soon. As if this weren't bad enough news on the Ability To Take A Relaxing Walk In the Park front, we're now hearing about the burgeoning population of Nile Monitor Lizards in the Southwest coast of Florida. This is a species that has been imported from Africa by the Stupid Boob species of American Pet Collector. These things are cute with their bulging eyes and darting tongues. Then they get too big to hide from the landlord and once again are turned loose in the wilds of Florida to feed on small pets. Nile Monitor Experts suggest small gators may be at risk from these things too. Think "velociraptor" only not as cute. (Mr. Nile Monitor, meet Mr. Python.) Wouldn't it be nice if we could detonate these reptiles just by feeding them rice, like in that old wives' tale about birds that attend weddings? With both Rush Limbaugh and Rosie O'Donnell residing in South Florida, I suppose there is the risk that the Burmese Pythons and Nile Monitor Lizards could be at risk of taking on an entertainment giant that is too big to handle. Now THAT would be tabloid fodder.

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