Newberry, Florida boy Ben Smith, 11, recently set a world record.
It probably won’t appear in any record books. Ben was running through a wooded area at a friend’s birthday party when he felt a sharp pain, which he said was “like a knife”. A five-foot long eastern diamondback rattlesnake had bit him on his right leg.
Diamondback rattlesnakes have the most toxic venom in North America, and a deep bite from a large snake, like Ben had, will typically keep a patient in the hospital for as long as two weeks, according to Dr. Torrey Baines, a pediatric critical care specialist at the University of Florida Health Shands Hospital.
A week and a half after being bitten, Ben remained in the pediatric intensive care unit. The venom from a highly toxic snake can keep the blood from clotting normally for up to two weeks. Once Ben’s blood clotting tests produced normal results, the hospital would keep him for another 24 to 48 hours for observation.
Doctors thought that the 80 vials of antivenin they needed to stabilize the 65 pound boy was a world record.
For a healthy person who hasn’t been bitten too deeply or by a highly venomous snake, Dr. Baines said, a typical dose might be four to six vials of antivenin immediately, followed by a smaller maintenance dose of about two vials several hours later.
“Ben wanted to make a wallet, but has been told by the taxidermist that it would not hold up well,” his mother Heather Smith said. “We are having the snake skin preserved and Ben will decide later how to display it or if he wants to make something with the skin.”
From Marlin Perkins on Wild Kingdom to The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau, nature programs have been a staple of television for decades. The danger was never more apparent than when Steve Irwin was viciously penetrated by a Manta Ray.
One of the inheritors of the wild kingdom is Bear Gryllis of Man vs. Wild. Eating insects and drinking urine made him an unlikely international star rather than a circus geek.
After all of his time in the wild, he knows the dangers. But behind the camera, he’s backed up by a production crew. One of the producers is Steve Rankin, and he was on location for a recording of a new series Naked and Afraid.
As he was climbing over a fallen tree, a Fer de Lance, adeadly poisonous Pit Viper, bit his foot through his boot.
It took two hours to get him to a hospital.
He needed an extensive skin graft to repair the damage. The tissue came from his thigh.
First they had to remove the necrotic flesh and expose the remaining good tissue.
Then they stapled the remains closed in preparation for the skin graft.
Rankin is recovering, but so far there is no report on the condition of his foot. We expect he’ll heal eventually, taking it one step at a time.
Although man has been cataloging nature since antiquity, there are still many new species to discover. Most of them are in locations that are remote or inhospitable to study.
Then someone has to recognize the uniqueness of the creature, confirm the genus, and locate other members of the species. The expression of physical traits isn’t always the best indicator. Indeed the one-eyed hip snake, purple headed bed snake, blind cave salamander, crotch cobra, and pajama python were all determined to be members of a single species.
Engineers draining a hydroelectric dam in Rondonia, Brazil gave biologists an opportunity to examine the bed of the Madeira River, which connects to the Amazon River.
Six of the unique creatures, atretochoana eiselti, were found. Each was around a meter long.
Biologist Julian Tupan, who works for Santo Antonio Energy, the company which constructed the dam, said: “Of the six we collected, one died, three were released back into the wild and another two were kept for studies. Despite looking like snakes, they aren’t reptiles and are more closely related to salamanders and frogs.”
Does the snake get bigger when you rub it gently?
We know how nature loves balance, so we wonder what else is out there yet to discover.
Homeland Security, which now encompasses Immigration and Naturalization, works hard to ensure that they know what’s going on inside our borders.
Nonetheless, through fortune, or with assistance, it’s still possible to get into the US and, if you can find a good niche, thrive.
The success of the invasive species often comes at the expense of the natives.
People used to scare their kids with stories of alligators in the sewers, growing up from baby ‘gators brought up from Florida as souvenirs and then dumped as they grew big. But you really don’t hear about a lot of alligator attacks on sewer workers.
In the Florida Everglades, sightings of some medium-size mammals are down as much as 99 percent and it’s thought that pythons and other non-native constrictors are responsible.
The National Park Service says 1,825 Burmese pythons have been caught in and around Everglades National Park since 2000. They believe that tens of thousands of them are living there. A recently captured Burmese python was 16′ 5″ long and weighed 156 pounds.
How can there be so many?
It becomes clearer when you look inside.
This one contained 59 python embryos. With no natural predators scientists fear the pythons are disrupting the food chain and upset the Everglades’ delicate environmental balance in ways difficult to predict. Presently they are causing mayhem in the Everglades where they are decimating native species, numbers of raccoons, opossums, bobcats and other mammals.
So please keep your pets on a leash.
In the U.S. a lot of kids have a pet dog. Dogs and kids just naturally go together.
But other countries, particularly in the Far East, don’t see dogs the same way we do in the West. Kids still want pets, and there are other choices available.
For 7 year old Warne Sambat in Selbo, Cambodia, about 20 km from Phnom Penh, the pet of choice is a snake.
Five feet long and weighing over 100 kg, Warne’s pet python is bigger than its owner.
But size doesn’t matter to Warne Sambat any more than it does to a boy and his dog.
He finds his pet python to be just as cuddly.
When he’s home, his pet python is always around him.
She even takes him on rides.
The python is low maintenance, and can feed herself. In this picture the snake is napping with Warne as a potential snack walks by.
Snakes are hypo-allergenic. If you’re allergic to pet dander and can’t have a dog or cat, consider a snake as an alternative.
The American Pit Bull Terrier is often maligned, and has even been banned in some localities. They are fiercely loyal, loving dogs when raised properly, but the popularity of the breed means that there are a lot of neglected pit bulls of dubious parentage.
They have a bad reputation just because they eat an occasional baby.
But you’ll never convince the Fronteras, from Barangay Lapasan in the northern Philippines. Their pitbull, Chief, is a hero. In Tagalog, one of the languages spoken in the northern Philippines, the word “kuya” refers to an honored older person, like a big brother or respected family friend. The Fronteras children treated Chief like a member of the family and called the dog “Kuya Chief”.
He saved 87-year-old Liberata la Victoria and her granddaughter Maria Victoria Fronteras after a cobra entered through an opening in the family’s kitchen shortly around 8 a.m.
“The snake was in front of us., maneuvering a deadly attack,” Sabelita quoted Maria Victoria as saying. “I screamed out loud to ask for help.”
Hearing this, the four-year old pit bull terrier dashed from its sleeping area to fight off the deadly snake, said Sabelita quoting Maria Victoria.
The cobra fought back and bit Chief at the lower left portion of the jaw. The dog then repeatedly slammed the cobra after it succeeded in immobilizing the snake with its sharp teeth, she said.
Dela Rama said la Victoria was watching television when she panicked and alerted her granddaughter. The old lady said the cobra was about to attack her and the dog came to her rescue.
Maria Victoria said she saw the cobra expand its neck as soon as she turned the lights on. She said the cobra looked like it was spitting as its inched closer, about a meter away, toward her.
De la Rama said the terrier, “out of nowhere,” jumped on the cobra , bit it the neck, and then shook it till it died.
Moments later, the dog slouched flat and fainted, spreading its arms and feet on the floor, after killing the killer snake.
De la Rama said the dog went wobbly and lost control of its organs some 30 minutes after being bitten by the cobra; it started to urinate and defecate uncontrollably as it grasped for air and panted heavily.
The Fronterases sought the help of veterinarian but they were reportedly told that it was too late because the snake bite was near the dog’s brain and the venom had already spread.
Sabilita said Marlone rushed home when his wife called him up to tell him of what had happened and the dog’s master was stunned.
The Fronteras children were deeply affected according to Sabelita.
The last thing Chief did was wag his tail and gaze at Marlone who had just come from work, said Sabelita.
“Chief gave his two deep breaths and died. He was fighting and saving his last ounces of breath to see a glimpse of his master for the last two seconds of his life,” added dela Rama.
People can be really devoted to their pets. Who can’t resist a box of puppies?
Some people favor more exotic pets that may not appear so cuddly.
But they love them and care for them just the same.
But wild creatures don’t always adjust well to domestic living. Last year a pennsylvania woman was killed by her pet bear.
The results of a bear foot attack:
Earlier this year, a man was killed by his pet bull.
Who would imagine that someone would be killed by his beloved pet siberian tiger?
Although it was covered up by his handlers, it’s well-known that Michael Jackson was killed by his pet chimp, Bubbles, in 2003. The chimp was quietly moved to a California animal sanctuary and word was spread that he had matured into an aggressive adult who would no longer tolerate his owner’s devoted attention and being dressed in silly costumes.
After his death, celebrity Jackson was replaced by a white woman, with the explanation that two plastic surgeries and the skin disease vitiligo had altered his appearance.
Even under the most adverse circumstances people continue to love their pets. Recently, Mark Voegel, 30, of Dortmund, Germany was found dead in his apartment after neighbors complained about the horrible odor.
When police entered the apartment, they discovered his pet black widow spider, Bettina, his gecko, Helmut, a few snakes, a couple hundred spiders, and thousands of termites. As a devoted pet owner, he continued feeding them even after death, as they were discovered to be consuming his body.
A police spokesman said, “It was like a horror movie. His corpse was over the sofa. Giant webs draped him, spiders were all over him. They were coming out of his nose and mouth. There was everything there one could imagine in the world of reptiles. Large pieces of flesh torn off by the ;izards were scopped up and taken back to the webs of tarantulas and other bird-eating spiders.”
His apartment was described as a cross between a botanical garden and the butterfly breeding ground in The Silence of the Lambs. One tarantula had built a nest the size of a swallow’s in a corner of the ceiling. Voegel also had a boa constrictor and several poisonous frogs from South America.
The reptiles were allowed to roam freely throughout the apartment. The spiders and termites, supplied to the spiders as food, escaped when heaters on their aquaria exploded and dislodged the tops.
Voegel was believed to have been dead for 1 to 2 weeks. Despite the carnage caused by his other pets, it is believed that Bettina, the black widow spider, acted by herself in the murder and she is the lone suspect.
If you find a worm in your liquor, it’s there for the wrong reason. The myth of the mezcal worm was perpetuated by drunken fraternity boys, who would challenge each other to “swallow the worm” before engaging in gay sex.
There are brands of mezcal that have a worm, actually a caterpillar that eats the agavé plant that tequila and mezcal are made from. But it’s there strictly for marketing reasons, or to cover the bad taste of an inferior product. One manufacturer substitutes a scorpion for the caterpillar.
But the Mexicans have nothing on the Vietnamese. For some people, a tiny caterpillar just isn’t enough.
There’s hardly room for the liquor! And what if a cobra isn’t for you?
There are plenty of others to choose from. But even with this variety you might get tired of snake.
None of the native fauna is excluded.
There are festive bottles for that special occasion.
How do they get them in there?
The fraternity initiations in Viet Nam must be really interesting.
We have some late additions to the collection.
If bugs and reptiles aren’t your thing and you prefer warm cuddly mammals, there’s something for you too.
It’s summer, and ice cream is a favorite treat throughout the world. In the U.S. we have traditional flavors like vanilla and chocolate, but the rest of the world has other notions.
Basashi is raw horse meat, often served on a bed of ice with condiments like soy sauce, shiso leaves, and daikon (Japanese radish). It’s also called “sakura” (cherry) because of its deep red color. And this ice cream has nice chewy chunks of basashi.
If raw horse meat isn’t your idea of cold creamy goodness, there are lots of other flavors to choose from. There’s goat, and whale, and squid ink…
Since Japan only slaughters whales for scientific exploration, the Whale Ice Cream must be for research purposes.
What would you expect from people who eat shirako?
Shirako is the male genitalia of fish, a sack that contains its seminal fluid and sperm. It’s usually eaten raw, and so far hasn’t appeared as an ice cream flavor.
But it’s just a matter of time. They even have Pit Viper Ice Cream, made with real Pit Viper. Mmmm. You can really taste the Viper.