Sunday, March 27, 2011
Cobra on the loose
The following article appeared in today's NY Daily News:
It's about an adolescent cobra which escaped from its cage at the Bronx Zoo. It's only 20" long, but that's more than long enough to inflict a poisonous bite. Upon the discovery of its being missing, the Reptile House was closed immediately. Zookeepers have been looking for it; as of this afternoon it hadn't yet been found.
Imagine having that job. You have to poke around in a dark room, hoping to find an extremely poisonous snake before it finds you. You would certainly exercise extreme caution. But in that situation, how much caution is enough?
Such a job is no worse -- and actually, probably much better -- than working in a rice paddy in India. Of the 60,000 people who die of snakebite every year, over 50,000 of them live in South Asia. (On average, there are only 12 deaths from snakebite yearly in the US.) It must be hard to work on a tea plantation, or in a rice paddy, knowing that cobras and Russell's Vipers abound.
Everybody who reads this blog should be thankful they don't have to work in such a place. Or, at least for the moment, in the Bronx Zoo.