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Old March 3rd, 2008 #1
Alex Linder
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Snakes make three-course meal of Australian family's pets


A python swallows a pet dog

Paul Larter in Brisbane

Australians like to chuckle at foreigners' naive visions of a land where kangaroos can be seen nibbling at the grass on a residential street. Sometimes though, the wildlife does come — rather unnervingly — closer to home than most would like to think.

A couple are fearful for the safety of their two small children after watching in horror as the family dog was devoured by a 5m (16ft) python that crept into their suburban home.

Daniel Peric said that he was afraid to leave his children, aged 5 and 7, alone in any part of the house after the amethystine python swallowed his silky terrier-cross chihuahua. “We'd had the dog about five years, so it was part of the family,” Mr Peric said. “Watching it unfold before your eyes was pretty gut-wrenching.”

The family threw plastic chairs in a vain attempt to stop the 50kg reptile, which four days earlier had been seen in the dog's bed on the veranda. It was not the first time that a snake had struck against the family in Kuranda, 25km (15 miles) outside Cairns in the north east of Australia. A few weeks ago the cat fell victim to a similar non-venomous python; then on Sunday it was the guinea-pig's turn to be swallowed.
Related Links

* Snakes-in-the-bed horror

* Parched snakes send panic through Australian suburbs

“When it happens once, you think it's a one-off, but last night I thought ‘this is serious', Mr Peric said. “We have ducted air-conditioning. Call it paranoia, but my big fear is that a snake will get in there.”

Only the dog's hind legs and tail were visible when Stuart Douglas, the owner of the Australian Venom Zoo in Kuranda, arrived to remove the python. He said that Mr Peric was justified in his concern for the children. “A snake of that size is quite capable of killing a small child,” Mr Douglas said.

The family is not alone in being targeted by an “urban scrubbie” — a snake that has adapted to living with man. Mr Douglas said that he was aware of 20 other people in the town of 1,500 who had lost pets as the human population pushed into the traditional territory of the snake.

“These pythons used to feed on wallabies, but now they feed on cats and dogs in suburbia,” he said. “It's a classic example of snake adapting.”

Food for thought

— The scrub python is Australia's largest snake, growing to a maximum of almost 30ft, although 15-20ft is more common

— Its typical diet includes birds, fruitbats and possums. Its metabolism is slow enough that one fruitbat can sustain it for a month

— Unlike some snakes, such as anacondas, it has a thin body and is unable to kill larger animals

Source: Bristol Zoo

* Have your say

The people living in the house had the opportunity to call a snake handler earlier and should have done so particularly, after the snake was seen sleeping in the dog's bed.

The snake's intention was clear.

They could have also moved the dog from the outside veranda to the inside of the house. As far as I'm aware snakes haven't worked out how to open doors or windows yet.

As for a python this large finding its way through the ducted air-conditioning well that's not very likely.

I also don't think attempting to kill such a large snake with a shovel is an option and Australians unlike our American friends don't keep guns near at hand. Most types of firearms are banned in Australia as is killing native wildlife unless absolutely necessary.

My husband has killed tiger snakes (with a shovel) in our backyard when necessary as they are venomous and very deadly and only when they were striking at our pet dogs.

Generally though you are better off to leave such snakes alone.

Cathy Thomson, Geeveston, Tas Australia

This is why you should keep a machete in the house.

Daniel J Davis, New York,

You don't need a gun to kill a snake. A boot heel will do just fine--even on a big one.

drawlr, Tooele, Utah

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...cle3448618.ece
 
Old March 3rd, 2008 #2
Alex Linder
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Australian environmentalist Val Plumwood dead of snake bite at 68



CANBERRA, Australia — Renowned Australian feminist and environmental activist Val Plumwood, who survived a horrific crocodile attack more than 20 years ago, has been killed by an apparent snake bite, a friend said Monday.

Plumwood was 68 years old.

Her body was found Saturday in the octagonal stone house where she lived alone near Braidwood in New South Wales, said friend Jane Salmon.

Salmon said it appeared a snake bite killed her. State police Det. Sgt. David Kay declined comment on the cause of death other than to say there were no suspicious circumstances. A coroner has yet to make an official finding on the cause.

Plumwood wrote the seminal environmental texts "Feminism and the Mastery of Nature" and "Environmental Culture: the Ecological Crisis of Reason" in 1993 and 2002 but she had been a leading campaigner against the logging of Australia's native forests and for the preservation of biodiversity since the 1960s.

Plumwood, originally known as Val Routley, took her adopted surname from a variety of tree near her wilderness home.

"She was considered by a lot of people a pioneer of the environmental movement," Salmon said.

Plumwood was attacked by a crocodile in a river in Australia's northern Outback in 1985 and escaped with terrible wounds to her legs and groin after the beast dragged her underwater three times in a death roll - the manoeuvre crocodiles use to drown their prey.

She said the near-death experience constantly reminded her of the wonder of being alive and gave her a better understanding of her place in nature.

The "human supremacist culture of the West" tries to deny that humans are also animals positioned in the food chain, she wrote in the Aisling Magazine in 2005.

"It was a shocking reduction, from a complex human being to a mere piece of meat," Plumwood, a vegetarian, wrote of the attack. "Never in my life have I been so rudely objectified," she added. "Unfortunately there was no crocodile court to file a grievance with."

She vehemently opposed a plan to hunt the crocodile that nearly killed her, arguing she had been the intruder in its habitat. "Meat's meat, and a croc's got to eat," she said.

Plumwood's academic career took her to the United States, where she annoyed people at North Carolina State University and University of Montana. In Australia, she worked at the University of Sydney, as well as the Australian National University.

"She was probably the worst-smelling ecofeminist in the world," said friend and former colleague Bob Goodin, an Australian National University philosopher.

"She was fierce," Goodin said.

"I pity the poor snake that bit her."

Her neighbour, Joe Friend, said plans were being made for a funeral in Braidwood on Saturday.

http://canadianpress.google.com/arti...kwXHANj_Wnb9Zw
 
Old March 3rd, 2008 #3
Alex Linder
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Humans hard-wired to fear snakes

February 29, 2008


There may be a good reason why Satan takes the form of a snake in the biblical story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

A new study suggests that people are biologically predisposed to learn quickly to fear snakes - a defensive mechanism probably rooted in evolution.

"Snakes would have been threats that we encountered often and in many areas of the world ... throughout the course of human evolution," said one of the researchers, Vanessa LoBue of the University of Virginia.

Today, however, people are seldom exposed to venomous serpents - especially in early childhood, when fears are normally learned and become ingrained.

"We wanted to know whether preschool children, who have much less experience with natural threats than adults, would detect the presence of snakes as quickly as their parents," said Dr. LoBue. "If there is an evolved tendency in humans for the rapid detection of snakes, it should appear in young children as well as their elders."

[True of niggers too - dislike is instinctive]

For the study, children and adults were individually asked to find an image of a snake on a computer screen filled with pictures of relatively harmless entities such as flowers, frogs and caterpillars. Then they were given instructions to pinpoint the harmless object on a touch screen full of snakes.

The results revealed that "parents and their children identified snakes more rapidly than they detected other stimuli, despite the gap in age and experience," the researchers said in a statement released with the study published in the journal Psychological Science.

Dr. LoBue said the study might help explain why snake phobias are so common. "Snakes are often used in human history, at least in literature, as a symbol of evil," she said in an interview.

"It is kind of strange that so many people are afraid of snakes yet they don't really encounter them very often any more."

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servl...andHealth/home
 
Old March 3rd, 2008 #4
Alex Linder
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We now have people so feckless they can't even kill a snake that has eaten their cat, g-pig and dog. They throw plastic chairs at it.
 
Old March 3rd, 2008 #5
Alex Linder
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Feb. 27, 2008

Texas tries to control invasion of exotic snakes
Non-native species can do lots of damage to environment


[Like Mexicans?]

By SHANNON TOMPKINS

Texas, like the rest of the nation, continues losing ground in its war against non-native, invasive species.

This month, giant salvinia, one of the most destructive and persistent of alien aquatic plants, was documented for the first time in three more Texas lakes — Rayburn, Palestine and Brandy Branch.

Discovered in Texas in a single small pond in Houston only a decade ago, salvinia has spread to dozens of public and private waters across the eastern third of the state.

[For "giant salvinia" substitute "stubby mexcrementia" and see how honest reporting about people stuff would read]

Able to grow so quickly and densely that it smothers the life from the water it covers and seemingly impossible to eradicate, giant salvinia is just one of the most recent invaders to inflict severe damage on Texas' ecosystems and the plants and animals that depend upon them.

The list of non-native species that have found their way into Texas, thrived and wrecked havoc on our natural resources and wallets is soberingly long.

Fire ants. Feral hogs. Chinese tallow. McCartney rose. Water hyacinth. Salt cedar. Hydrilla. Grass carp. Nutria. [Mexicans.] Formosan termites. Those are some of the big ones.

How much environmental and economic damage do alien-invasive species do in this country?

About $120 billion a year, according to a 2004 study by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University. That's three times as much as ExxonMobil's $40 billion in profits this past year. It's seven times more than Microsoft's annual profits. It's a lot of money.

In Texas, fire ants' annual damage to wildlife, livestock and public health is estimated at $300 million. Experts estimate damage to Texas agriculture by feral hogs at $52 million a year.

But the most sobering destruction caused by invasive species is the damage done to the wildlife, fisheries and ecosystems they invade.

Fire ants are directly responsible for the staggering decline in Texas' horned-lizard numbers, the near vanishing of some native ant species and certainly a factor in the decline of some other wildlife.

Invasive plants such as phragmites and salvinia and Chinese tallow take over landscapes and waters, shoving out native plants, corrupting whole ecosystems and dooming many species of native plants and animals.

In Texas, salt cedar sucks so much water that, often, adjacent springs and creeks stop flowing or the waterways' salinity increases so much it is uninhabitable by native species.

The negative impact of non-native species on native plants, animals and fish is as pervasive as it is hard to exaggerate. Competition, predation or other impacts of invasive species are considered the primary risk factors facing about 400 of the approximately 1,000 species listed as threatened or endangered under this country's Endangered Species Act, according to a 1998 study.

[It is no different with people. They fight for space just the same. The media are one of the tools they fight with. Humans use media to fight for mindspace the way water weeds and fire ants battle for water and ground space.]

Faced with the onslaught of invasive species and spending billions fighting them, state and federal governments have begun trying to address the root causes of the problem — humans transporting and introducing non-native species.

Texas has imposed a prohibition on possessing dozens of non-native species of plants, fish, animals — a list that grows longer each year.

It's now a misdemeanor criminal violation in Texas for people to not remove from their boat trailers any non-native vegetation such as hydrilla, hyacinth and salvinia.

And beginning April 1, any person in Texas possessing or offering for sale any venomous snake not native to Texas or any of five species of non-native constrictors will have to obtain a permit from the state.

Acting on a mandate from the 2007 session of the Legislature, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission this past month adopted rules creating a "controlled exotic snake permit."

Under terms of the regulations, any person possessing or transporting a venomous snake not native to Texas, a green anaconda, or any of four species of python (African rock, Asiatic rock, reticulated, southern African) must buy an annual permit from TPWD.

Private owners of the regulated species will be required to annually purchase a $20 "recreational controlled exotic snake " permit.

Businesses selling snake species covered under the regulations would be required to hold a $60 annual "commercial exotic snake permit."

Penalties for not complying with the permit rules would be a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $25-$500, said Major David Sinclair of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's law enforcement division.

Texas hopes to avoid — or at least defer — seeing the problems Florida currently faces with its exploding "feral" population of large, non-native snakes.

Over the past decade, released or escaped pythons have established breeding populations in southern Florida.

Just in Everglades National Park, more than 400 Burmese (Asiatic) pythons, some 13-15 feet long, have been found and removed.

Florida makes owners of the large, non-native snakes pay a hefty price for the potentially damaging reptiles and has imposed a method of trying to track and punish owners of escaped or released big snakes.

As in Texas, anyone in Florida convicted of releasing one of the non-native snakes faces a heavy fine.

Sadly, the natural world is paying a much higher price from such irresponsible acts.

shannon.tompkins@chron.com

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/...s/5576910.html
 
Old March 3rd, 2008 #6
Alex Linder
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A 5m (16ft) amethystine python swallows a wallaby and its joey west of Cairns in north Queensland.

 
Old March 3rd, 2008 #7
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23 February 2008

Snake hunt filmed for first time

The fearsome hunting skills of a wild rattlesnake have been caught on camera for the first time.

Using a specially designed camera trap, a BBC crew managed to film the snake killing and then eating his victim - a small mouse - in the wild.

The mouse died almost immediately after being stabbed and injected with the timber rattlesnake's deadly venom.

The snake hunt was filmed in New York State, US, under the guidance of rattlesnake expert Harry Greene.

He helped the crew track the snake by using radio telemetry.

The footage forms part of the BBC One series Life in Cold Blood.

[video through link]

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7259678.stm
 
Old March 3rd, 2008 #8
Adamic Man
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"It was a shocking reduction, from a complex human being to a mere piece of meat," Plumwood, a vegetarian, wrote of the attack. "Never in my life have I been so rudely objectified," she added. "Unfortunately there was no crocodile court to file a grievance with."

Ummm.... WHAT?!


"She was probably the worst-smelling ecofeminist in the world," said friend and former colleague Bob Goodin, an Australian National University philosopher.

Imagine, a life's work of environmentalism and feminism, and your friend remembers you as smelling bad...

 
Old March 3rd, 2008 #9
Signe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Linder View Post
We now have people so feckless they can't even kill a snake that has eaten their cat, g-pig and dog. They throw plastic chairs at it.
That's hilarious, and this

Quote:
The snake's intention was clear.
In a country like Singapore the police would come in with combat rifles and shoot it.

I like snakes myself but don't want them in my house so I would have no problem cutting its head off if it meant my kids or pets.

A snake eating a kangaroo...


Last edited by Signe; March 3rd, 2008 at 01:29 PM.
 
Old March 3rd, 2008 #10
Alex Linder
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The sad part is the hapless couple has two young kids the snake is obviously working his way up to, having finished the appetizers.
 
Old March 3rd, 2008 #11
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Snakes keep the rodent population down, but when they get too close to home that is another matter. The ones around here, I don't mind them, about all they do is sort of startle me once in a while, if I cut through the big field across the highway. These guys below, eat those disgusting slugs, and other small creatures, near the ponds and ditches in this area.




Last edited by Bill; March 3rd, 2008 at 02:44 PM.
 
Old March 3rd, 2008 #12
steven clark
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Pythons in Florida? What kind of sick asshole would turn pythons loose? And I read where they could easily spread to the south. It angers me that it's just accepted...have FLorida put a bounty of Pythons. That would solve the problem fast. I hate the way we whites are trained to be helpless in the face of predatory animals (like we are with two-legged kind).
 
Old March 3rd, 2008 #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Linder View Post
Humans hard-wired to fear snakes

February 29, 2008


A new study suggests that people are biologically predisposed to learn quickly to fear snakes - a defensive mechanism probably rooted in evolution.

Obviously they're just a bunch of ignorant serpentophobes and endothermic supremacists. They need sensitivity training.
 
Old March 3rd, 2008 #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark View Post
Obviously they're just a bunch of ignorant serpentophobes and endothermic supremacists. They need sensitivity training.
It could also just be a common sense aversion to getting bitten. I know I wouldn't want to get bit by a rattlesnake if at all possible.
 
Old March 3rd, 2008 #15
Alex Linder
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I'm a big fan of snakes, but sometimes they need to be killed.
 
Old March 3rd, 2008 #16
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I have a pellet rifle for that. So far there has been no critter with a thick enough skull to stop it .
 
Old March 3rd, 2008 #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Linder View Post
I'm a big fan of snakes, but sometimes they need to be killed.
I love snakes, too. I also have a rabid fascination and interest in tarantulas and spiders. I really dont get the big deal with snakes and spiders. I actually tried to do phobia counseling at one point, but I just cant deal with the absolute irrational nature of the individuals in question.
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Old March 4th, 2008 #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Linder View Post
Dr. LoBue said the study might help explain why snake phobias are so common. "Snakes are often used in human history, at least in literature, as a symbol of evil," she said in an interview.

"It is kind of strange that so many people are afraid of snakes yet they don't really encounter them very often any more."
Then how do they explain how many kids like playing with them? That is the cause of many of the bites in places like FL.
 
Old March 4th, 2008 #19
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Here's a huge snake about to have a kangaroo for lunch.

 
Old March 6th, 2008 #20
Alex Linder
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What a great shot.
 
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