I don’t know about you but I feel like 2022 flew by like a video of a chinchilla taking a dust bath, played at 2X speed. And since you brought it up, here’s actual footage of a chinchilla taking a dust bath. You can play it at 2X or not. It starts slowly, then builds into a frenzy of activity, just like 2022! At least that’s my perspective.
This past Christmas was especially hectic, what with Nor’easters, Alberta Clippers and Polar Vortices wandering around and disrupting travel plans with reckless abandon. We had to rejig our travel plans at the last minute to avoid spending Christmas in the Toronto airport. I felt like a hatchling marine iguana fleeing for its life with a pack of ravenous snakes in hot pursuit: or maybe cold pursuit, since snakes are cold-blooded.
In fact, I wrote about an actual hatchling iguana caught on camera fleeing for its life from a pack of ravenous snakes in a previous post saying the following: “That clip is the best thing I have ever seen. Seriously. Even better than that picture in which two guys are dueling with van de Graaf generator-based weaponry. You will be on your feet cheering your heart out for that iguana.”
Immediately after I embedded that clip (below) in this post I watched it again and sure enough, there I was, up on my feet, cheering my heart out for that feisty little bugger. If Tom Cruise and Gal Gadot (aka Wonder Woman) got together and somehow produced an iguana baby instead of a human baby, that hypothetical love child iguana’s butt would totally be kicked by the Planet Earth II iguana featured below. Trust me on this.
I know, I should get on with the python stuff but I also want to say that if Planet Earth II iguana had a Mom like the one in this next clip, the snakes would be a non-issue. Especially if they in any way resembled elongated, streamlined raccoons. The Mom in question, who I’m almost positive works part time as a baggage handler for (insert the name of any major airline here), starts her day by rushing out the front door when she hears her daughter Reilly screaming whilst waiting outside for the bus.
Mom finds a plus-sized raccoon clinging to Reilly’s leg and promptly disengages it while Reilly attempts a fairly complicated horizontal gymnastic manoeuvre against Mom’s hip. Mom calls for help, shouting something about rabies and shoos Reilly back inside after detaching her daughter from her hip with one arm whilst the raccoon clings tenciously to her other arm. After giving the raccoon, still clinging tenaciously to her arm, a practice swing, Mom yeets it a good 20 feet or so into the front yard. It’s awesome. Unharmed and possibly feeling a little sheepish, the raccoon gets up and waddles away nonchalantly. You actually wind up feeling a bit sorry for it. Reilly and Mom got away with a couple of scratches and a brace of rabies shots.
OK, now I REALLY need to get on with the python stuff.
Late in 2022, somebody in the know told me about a Burmese Python in Florida that died after eating a 5-foot alligator. I got the lowdown from the WSAZ News Channel site. Motto: We need better news correspondents. Or maybe just better proofreading.
Here’s a photo of the victim, freshly excavated from an 18-foot python:
According to Jeanne Moos, CNN National news correspondent: “The state of Florida encourages people to kill Burmese pythons because they eat so many other species and produce rapidly.”
“They” can be a dangerous word, sometimes leading to needless confusion. You’ll notice that I struggled at bit with the use of “her” in the description of the raccoon battle although I think I managed to avoid needless confusion.
Anyway, my first question is: Who’s doing the eating: the people or the pythons? My other question is, (assuming that they refers to the pythons) is: What do they produce?
Ophidiophobia (fear of snakes)?
Herpetophobia (fear of reptiles in general)?
Vorarephobia (fear of being eaten alive/swallowed whole)?
I feel like a pretty good case could be made for any or all of the above phobias. And possibly the methane.
Interestingly, Rosie Moore, one of the scientists who necropsied the python, has also made a name for herself as a successful free-diving bikini model. I am not making this up. The footage Ms. Moore posted on Instagram pertaining to the necropsy rapidly went viral. For some reason.
Turns out that alligator-snacking pythons are old news. I got to poking around and located another article detailing the October 2005 discovery, made by South Florida Natural Resources Center researchers, of a dead, headless python sporting a mostly-intact alligator protruding out of a hole in its midsection. The headline on the Mongabay blog post was “Python explodes after swallowing 6-foot alligator in Florida Everglades”.
I swear on an Exploding Kittens card game that I am not making any of this up.
There are various competing theories about what happened:
(a) The python successfully engulfed and suffocated the alligator but eventually exploded due to intestinal gas buildup.
(b) The alligator was engulfed but somehow remained alive and fought part way out of the python before expiring.
(c) The python successfully engulfed the alligator but a second alligator came along, ate the head of the python in retribution but was unable to free the imprisoned alligator.
Those are pretty improbable theories if you ask me because (a) and (b) don’t account for the missing head and in (c) we don’t know if the snacked-upon reptile was still alive or “just resting” as the saying goes. Why would the second alligator attempt to rescue a dead alligator? Admittedly, I might be overthinking this.
My theory, shamelessly modified from a theory posited by the person who told me about all this python-alligator stuff in the first place, is that the alligator in question may have contained the long-sought-after carcass of disappeared notorious former Teamster’s Union President and convicted felon, Jimmy Hoffa. Before his demise, and in an eerie twist of fate, Hoffa could have accidentally ingested a set of nesting Matryoshka dolls bearing the likenesses of, in no particular order, various ruthless political leaders such as Nancy Pelosi, Genghis Khan, Erik the Red, and Margaret Thatcher. The innermost doll probably contained a grenade which was eventually detonated by powerful pythonic contractions.
Maybe that’s not such a great theory but “The Pythonic Contractions” might seem like a pretty great name for a band. Or at least an OK name. If you happen to be somebody who was fifteen years old in the early 70’s.