This Public Service Announcement is brought to you from an article on CNN.com (6/29/2017).
Up to 70% of reptile bites are provoked by the person bitten, based on cases seen by the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center.
That does not surprise me, nor any of the Bird Crew, I am sure. Each one of us has done our share of antagonizing reptiles (amphibians, mammals, birds, insects and just about anything else that can be found crawling, walking, flying or swimming in the northeastern US). I don’t know why, exactly, but it just seemed like a good idea at the time.
Arizona has more, and more deadly species, for sure. But I have not seen very many animals unfortunate enough to cross the path of a gang of teenage boys escape unscathed.
“Most of them tend to be males under the age of 25 who have been drinking …
Holy shitake, stop the press! Under 25 and drinking?!
“…they’re out there messing around with snakes doing some dumb stuff,” said Goode. (Matthew Goode, a research scientist in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Arizona)
What I like best about this article is that, much like a well written poem or haiku, Mr. Goode was able to convey the entirety of his message with a minimum of well chosen words. Two properly constructed sentences, actually, that cover all of the ground most of us guys (and quite a few girls) know from experience.
Messing around with snakes is dumb, no argument there. But a snake basking on the side of a trail or swimming by when you are fishing is just asking for trouble. It’s not unlike waving a red flag at a bull. It prompts action.
And the addition of alcohol? That is just fanning the flames.
“Hey Birdwell! There’s a cot-danged rabble snake over here in the ditch. Grab me a stick…and another beer…”
That was in my younger years. These days I am much kinder and softer of heart to the local fauna. Just ask the 4-foot black snake that I uncovered while turning over the mulch pile with my pitch fork. I could have easily (and safely) skewered it, skinned it’s scaly hide and rendered it’s bones (for the collection). But I refrained.
Because I like rodents even less. And snakes eat rodents.
Like a lot of things in life, the hard lessons are the best lessons. I consider myself indeed fortunate to have all fingers and toes intact. It doesn’t matter much if the object of your scorn is lacking legs or not. If it has a head and teeth, watch the fark out.