Archive for the ‘nature’ Tag

Her Pet Ology   Leave a comment

So because I am the person who has to pay attention to these things (because I nominated myself), Florida is dealing with an invasive species problem by allowing hunters to cull the herd. In this case, the “herd” is Burmese pythons. I am suspicious of things that don’t have feet.


Source

Actually for serious, snakes freak me out. I once held a baby snake and I spent the entire time thinking about how vulnerable my wrist was to fangs, mammal-biting fangs that long for blood. It’s the head of the snake that scares me. Not the body.


Snakes can be quite lovely, actually
Source

When I’d first heard of the snake-culling on NPR, I thought “huh, that’s interesting” and then filed it away in my brain to dump later. I did not care, is the point. NPR gave much the same analysis as the linked article above — that is to say, none. NPR reported that the population of Burmese Pythons, a non-native species invasive to Florida, had risen to the levels that the government was allowing hunters to kill the pythons at will. That is pretty much what the Miami Herald says, except that it gives a bit more information on the rules of the hunter’s cull.

The Hunter's Cull

Repticon (the convention for reptiles!) posted the Miami Herald link above, asking for thoughts. This was literally the first time I had to given the Burmese Pythons any active thought. I gave my response:

my response

And then did some serious research on Burmese Pythons, and by “serious research” I mean Wikipedia. Because that’s how things are done on the internet. According to Wikipedia, Burmese Pythons are not poisonous. “The snake uses its sharp rearward-pointing teeth to seize its prey, then wraps its body around the prey, at the same time contracting its muscles, killing the prey by constriction.” Oh, oh goody. “In captivity their diet consists primarily of commercially available, appropriately sized rats, and graduates to larger items such as rabbits and poultry as they grow. Exceptionally large pythons may even require larger food items such as pigs or goats, and are known to have attacked and eaten alligators and adult deer in Florida…” Wait, aren’t humans smaller than alligators and adult deer? “A three-metre long Burmese python can easily kill a child and a five-metre long (around 16.5 feet) Burmese python is certainly capable of overpowering and killing a fully grown adult.”

The Wikipedia article also can’t decide if Burmese Pythons are going to leave Southeastern Florida or not. First they point out that the USGS showed that, thanks to climate change, they could migrate northwards. But then Wikipedia points out that article wasn’t peer-reviewed! In fact, Burmese Pythons died of exposure when brought to Southern California! Then the USGS brought out another study saying that the Burmese Pythons could migrate north! Then herpetologists again contradicted the study! Who to trust?

I recognize that I’m focusing on only the horrible parts of the Wikipedia page, but most of it is the standard neutral data on where the Burmese Python comes from and what it does. Did you know that snakes are born with egg teeth, which allow it to break through the egg, I guess? Also, sometimes Burmese Pythons brumate! What a strange thing for a reptile to do. On the pro-side of things, Burmese Pythons are “made popular by their attractive colour and apparently easy-going nature” and that…that is about it on the pro-burmie side of things on Wikipedia. Reptiles are easy-going, guys, I’m not going to lie. Give them a hot spot and a cool spot and some food and plenty of alone time and man, reptiles are easy pets.


Now that we’re all a little more educated on the subject of Burmese Pythons, let’s see what my fellow Repticon page-followers have to say about the culling of the pythons.

Honestly, most of the responses were along the same lines as mine. “It has to be done,” most of us said. “It’s sad that animals have to die because of human stupidity, but it must be done, for the sake of the environment and the other animals.” Keep in mind that having an non-native predator with those sorts of numbers means that native predators can’t eat and the prey animals are dying faster than they ought to. There were also those who were fully against the hunt:

uproar
against

There were conspiracy theorists in the group:

its all a conspiracy

Could it have something to do with land development? I honestly have no idea. I do know that land down there is a goldmine. When my cousin and his fiancee visited for my grampa’s birthday, they told us about how Miami was trying to kick out Burn Notice in order to build condos. Sure, Burn Notice provides hundreds of jobs and makes people interested in visiting Miami, but condos! Perhaps more research is required on this, I don’t know.

There was also lots of advice for the hunters.

advice

One person didn’t seem to understand the question.

off-topic
That’s a fantastic song by Oasis by the way

Another person didn’t seem to understand the issue. Like, at all.

just plain incorrect

I might be new to this whole Burmese Python issue, but:

1) Burmese Pythons are non-native, meaning that they don’t belong in the Everglades and they are invading our space
2) “this” is singular and “animals” is plural, so you should have said “these animals”
3) Burmese Pythons would still need to get caught in order to get “ex-ported”
4) And anyway they’re non-native, so it would be “deported” back to their native country
5) Rainforests? Do you want to set an invasive species on the Amazon?

what are we nazis

Any answer I give to this would invoke Godwin’s Law and therefore I can’t comment.

I do have standards!   Leave a comment

A person I am somehow related to sent me this:

What hath the internet wrought?

At least they didn’t put a beard on Santa. Or a red nose on Rudolph. I mean, if you’re going to tie some bearded dragons to each other, at least you don’t want to completely humiliate them! Where did they even get ten dragons to make this anyway?

I’m trying to hard to be charmed by this, but I’m just creeped out by it.

I can’t even imagine what those little antler ears must feel like around their heads. At least they’re not blocking the ears. But still. Why are they all tied together by the neck? Not only could they pull on the rope and accidentally choke themselves or their fellows in degradation, but it must rub at their beards something fierce. I have no proof of this, but I bet the skin around their necks is very sensitive. Certainly when one puts a beardie in a proper harness, you have to be careful that the beard isn’t caught in the harness. That is a good way to anger a beardie.

Boyfriend sent me this:

That’s how to dress up a beardie!

Although his airbending skills are great…   1 comment

In 2006, as I was crossing the street, walking back to work from my break, a strong wind nearly knocked me off my feet. Since then, winds have been my enemy. I have gained, in the interim, about twenty pounds, and then lost about twelve or fifteen of those pounds. Even so, with Hurricane Sandy, I not only wanted to have an Adventure with this new event, but I had something to prove. Thus it was, I decided to go out to my local state park and get a picture of the river in the hurricane. Because, I told my mother, the people had to know.

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Shielded with three jackets and my trusty spotted rainboots, with an umbrella and a camera as my weapons, I went to face my enemy.

Although my neighborhood is right next to the state park, I did a strange thing and drove there. I didn’t want to walk an entire mile and a half to the river in the rain, after all. I figured that the gate to the park would be closed. In fact, I thought it would be irresponsible to do otherwise. With that in mind, I parked next to the baseball field outside the park, and then spent a few minutes wandering around the baseball field.

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The rain was intense, sure, but it was nothing compared to the wind. I had to hold the umbrella facing the wind exactly, so it wouldn’t pop out of its frame. I was certain that at any moment the fabric would break and I would be defenseless in my battle against Sandy.

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“It would be irresponsible of them to have the gate open.”

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This tributary normally has a foot-deep bank.

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The golf course is under deep water. As I understand it, water starts accumulating on top of the ground when the ground itself is so filled with water, like a sponge, that it can’t take in anymore. At this point Sandy had only been around for a few hours. These pictures were taken at 3:30.

The mile-long walk from the entrance to the river had me gripping the umbrella like a shield, staving off the water. The wind whipped my outer jacket around. Twice the wind struck me so hard I stumbled. But this was why I was doing this. I had to show the hurricane that I could stand it.

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If the golf course at the entrance was a sponge, the earth by the river itself was simple a sink full of dirty dishes. I sank into the ground. The ground isn’t completely flat, and only the very tops of the mounds was there no standing water. What was worse, the closer you got to the water, the worse the wind became. Suddenly the wind wasn’t blowing frequently from the side — it was constant and coming at me from the front. Sandy did not want me there.

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It was all I could do to hold my umbrella in front of me. The wind bowed the umbrella until the frame was straight. The wind whipped my hair around, always in my face, soaking it. My pants were soaked. I could only inch forward. My hands were so cold from the wind that I lost feeling in my fingers, my fingers like numb stones sliding desperately against the glass of my phone camera. I would take a picture, but I wouldn’t even check the camera before pocketing the phone again. I had no time. I could hardly stand still, for fear of being knocked into the ground. I imagined that I felt much like how a biplane pilot felt in the early days of aviation. Cold and wet and the wind whipping in my ears so loud I could barely think. It took me twenty minutes to cross that field.

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At some point in a journey, there comes a time when you have to consider yourself and your motives. Why are you here? It doesn’t matter what your motive was that lead you to start this journey. Why are you here now? Why have you decided to stay? Why should you continue?

It is one of those moments where you look into the abyss, and the abyss looks back. When you look up at your bedroom ceiling at night, what do you see, flickering in the vague retinal echoes of your sight? When there is no one but you and your enemy, whispering at your ear and pounding at your shield, what can you say? What can you do?

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I don’t know why I continued forward. I thought that perhaps it was because I had told myself I would do this and I didn’t want to break that promise. Or maybe I hate wind just that much. Maybe it’s some other reason, buried deep within my soul, that made me take another step forward to the river. And then another one. I could no longer feel my knees, and my pants were so soaked they were heavier than my feet, but I kept walking anyway.

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This was the picture I got.

As I turned around, away from the river the wind turned stronger, whipping my long jacket between my legs, pushing me forward. Go on, Sandy seemed to be saying. Get out of here. Leave.

I submitted.

Posted October 30, 2012 by agentksilver in Personal

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