Make It Stop. Please Make It Stop.

Make It Stop. Please Make It Stop.

Matt HealeyThursday,27 August 2015

I spend a considerable amount of time in the woods. For those who have followed my posts here, I do a lot of hiking on the Appalachian Trail (AT). So, I have developed a healthy respect for wildlife. The key to understanding wildlife is the first 4 letters of the word. The ‘wild’ part of wildlife. This means that the animals are not tame. They are not the Disney version of animals. They are unpredictable and you are coming into their world, not the other way around. Further, most wildlife can and will kill or severely hurt you if they feel threatened. When in the woods, keep in mind that you might not be the top of the food chain and most animals are in a better position to hurt you than you are to hurt them. So, when I see wildlife, and in all of my hiking I have come across 3 bears, 4 copper heads, 1 timber rattlesnake, 1 moose, 2 skunks, 2 porcupines, several black rat snakes, and thousands of squirrels, chipmunks, and other assorted rodents, I tend to given them a wide berth.

Given that I cannot understand the following complaint that the rangers from Yellowstone received:

Yellowstone Visitors Ask The Park To Please Train Bears To Hang Out Where Humans Can See Them

Really?!? I have seen bears in the wild and have been very happy that most of the time when they see people they run away. You don’t really want to train them to become comfortable around humans. The main reason for this is the average adult male bear in Yellowstone weighs 262 lbss, and can have claws up to 3 inches long. So I don’t want a wild, and thus unpredictable, 262 lbs., all muscle animal with 3 inch claws to be comfortable coming up to me, a 195 lbs., less-than-all-muscle animal with really short fingernails. I suspect that would end badly for me. But this lack of common sense is not limited to bears.

A while back I was stunned that someone would be dumb enough to try to take a selfie with a rattlesnake. I was stunned because I have accidentally been way to close to a timber rattler while on the AT. There were about 20,000 things that went through my head and the first 19,999 were get the fuck away from the snake. The 20,000 was no, don’t think about anything except getting the fuck away from the snake. So ‘gee this would be a good time for a selfie’ never really crossed my mind.

That was apparently not what Todd Fassler from San Diego thought. He decided to pick the snake up and try to take a selfie with it. This resulted in an entirely too predictable outcome. The rattlesnake did what rattlesnakes do – it bit him. The result was a $153,161.25 hospital bill, of which $83,341.25 was for ‘pharmacy.’ Apparently anti-venom is expensive. So I had assumed that this was the last I would hear about rattlesnake selfies.

I was wrong.

Enter Alex Gomez. A 36-year-old from Lake Elsinore, CA. He found a four foot rattlesnake and tried to pick it up, then put it around his neck for a selfie. Guess what happened? But before you do, listen to how Alex’s nephew described the snake:

“It was really thin and had ten rattles on it, it was rattling. It was pretty mad.”

So now go ahead a guess what a ‘pretty mad’ rattlesnake is going to do when you pick it up. Alex may now lose his hand and part or all of his arm.

Wild animals are wild. If you really want to see tame animals and be protected, go to a zoo. They are in cages that are there to protect the people from the animals, not the other way around.

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