Sister in Mourning—for the Snake—After Gaboon Viper Kills Its Owner
By Ken K. Gourdin
Confession: I have a morbid fascination with snakes—especially with those that can easily kill people. It’s akin to a fascination with train wrecks: although snakes make my skin crawl and the thought of being bitten by a venomous serpent is about as appealing to me as having every layer of my skin removed (layer by layer) with sandpaper, I can’t look away, and I even seek them out—remotely, at least!
I Googled my fascination in an idle moment and ran across a clip (see the link below) from the Animal Planet ™ series, “Fatal Attractions,” headlined, “Gaboon viper kills its owner.” Gaboon vipers have highly-potent, hemotoxic venom that kills in minutes by eliminating the ability of a victim’s blood to clot, resulting in hemorrhaging from every orifice. Yesss! A Gaboon viper! Just the kind of cuddly, companionable creature that any pet-lover ought to be thrilled to own—right up there with hamsters, guinea pigs, cats, and dogs! (Perhaps it’s no coincidence that snakes eat things most of us consider to be good pets . . . which ought to tell you something about the kind of people who think snakes are good pets!)
The woman’s sister is interviewed in the clip and expresses great sorrow. For the death of her sister, yes . . . but also (and even more so, it seemed to me) for the plight of her sister’s snakes. Three words: Oh . . . my . . . goodness! I’ve heard of sociopaths who have better-oriented priorities than this woman! Here’s the link:
Here’s the comment I posted on Youtube:
Sister: “Yeah . . . I’m . . . kinda sad about my sister but I’m . . . really sad about the snakes.” Huh, whaaaaat? :-O That mudst’ve been one hell of a sibling rivalry! (I wish I knew this woman’s name and birthdate so I could go to Ancestry[dot]com and make sure we’re not related! Egad!) And the saddest thing about this whole episode? Unfortunately, it illustrates perfectly that most of the world’s stupidest people also are, in the language of the law (full disclosure: [I am not a lawyer]) “judgment-proof.”
You want to keep exotic, dangerous, deadly animals out in the middle of nowhere where you’re the only person likely to come to immediate harm when they turn on you, while the rest of can at least get a running start when we find out they’ve killed you and now are coming for us? Fine. That’s one thing. On the other hand, if you keep such animals, can talk to your nearest neighbor without the aid of a sat-phone, and don’t have a multimillion dollar liability policy to protect your innocent neighbors . . . YOU’RE TOO CLOSE TO THE REST OF US!!!!!
I’ve told my family members that if I die under similar circumstances, they’re absolutely free to speak at my funeral . . . about what an idiot I was!
Update, March 14, 2014: This Guy Isn’t Much Better – Here’s a clip from the same show about a guy who got bitten by his cuddly, adorable pet cobra: http://www.animalplanet.com/tv-shows/fatal-attractions/videos/bitten-by-deadly-cobra.htm (last visited today). I only saw the clip from the show, but it looks as though this guy, too, lives in the middle of suburbia. I renew my call for people like this to isolate themselves and their animals from the rest of us! Again, if you can talk to your nearest neighbor without the aid of a sat-phone, you’re too close to the rest of us!
And let me get this straight: he gets bitten by the cobra, and his first thought is, “Well, maybe I wasn’t envenomated. I’ll just wrap my arm, sit down here and rest for a while, and if I start experiencing deadly symptoms, I’ll do something about it then—if I still can, before I’m completely incapacitated!”? Oooooh-KAY! In the immortal words of Biff, George McFly’s nemesis from the movie Back to the Future, “Hellllo-o-o-o-o-o?!! McFly!!!” And apparently, the attitude of a lot of these people is, “Well, he’d never bitten me before.” It only takes once, McFly! It only takes once.
I can appreciate someone who’s cool as a cucumber under pressure, and I understand that you don’t want to unravel after being bitten, when increased heart and respiration rates will simply enable the venom to travel faster through your bloodstream. But there’s a fine line, in that circumstance, between “cool” and “stupid.” Not only is your first thought not, “Omigosh! I’ve got to get to the hospital!” Not only is it not, “I’d better call 9-1-1.” Not only do you keep a deadly snake; and not only do you have no antivenin on hand to treat yourself. But you think your best bet is simply to hope you weren’t envenomated? No disrespect, sir, but as I said, “stupid” and “judgment-proof” is a very bad combination.