I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside

Snakes freak me out, and I think that’s ok. If I was afraid of something silly like turning into a tree, that would be embarrassing. A fear of snakes, however, makes complete sense. Some primitive, cavewoman part of me understands snakes are bad because they can kill you. They often don’t kill you, and for the most part they actively avoid you, but they can. This is also why I’m afraid of shy ninjas.

Even the word “snake” gives me the heebie-jeebies.

Gah!

The good thing about snakes is that they tend to hang out in places you’d expect. You can ensure your life is as snake-free as possible by avoiding these areas.

Snakey Places

– Under rocks and stumps

Nut cans

– Eastern Oklahoma

– The sets of Indiana Jones movies

Those crazy snake pits in Canada. It’s seriously just a big hole full o’ snakes you can go visit. BUT WHY WOULD YOU?

– Reptile houses

Planes, apparently

There are also some places that should be 100% snakeless. Seriously, snakes. We could all use a little snake break.

(I’ve now typed “snake” so many times that the word doesn’t scare me anymore. When I read it out loud it just sounds like a New Zealander is offering me a snack.)

Snack?

Snakeless Places

– My home and vehicle

– Your homes and vehicles

– Ireland

– Outer space

– Air

– The ocean

I was pretty confident in the knowledge that I would never be attacked by a snake while swimming in the ocean. It’s a terrifying place already; there’s no need to involve snakes.

Then one day I foolishly decided to Google “sea serpents” for fun.

See? Fun!

That was the day I discovered sea serpents, which are not real, have a cousin that is way, way too real.

Meet Hydrophiinae– the Sea Snake!

Fun Fact #1: Sea snakes are related to king cobras. Unsurprisingly, they’re really, really venomous and some of them are really, really aggressive. So if you’re running from a hoard of snakes (A gaggle of snakes? A knot of snakes? Do snakes travel in groups? Whatever. It’s not important right now.) and you get to the ocean, you could hop in, thinking you’re safe, only to find some incredibly deadly, incredibly mean snakes in there with you.

Fun Fact #1.5: A group of snakes is usually called a den or nest, but a group of rattlesnakes is called a rumba, which means “party” if you’re Cuban. If you’re ever invited to a rattlesnake rumba, don’t go. It won’t be that fun. Oh! Also, HUGE groups of sea snakes are spotted all the time. One time a ship off the coast of Malaysia found a school of sea snakes that was 10 feet wide and 62 miles long. Yeah. Miles.

Fun Fact #2: When a sea snake bites you (and the grouchier varieties inevitably will), it won’t inject you with much venom. So that’s nice. Oh wait. IT’S TOTALLY NOT NICE because they’re more poisonous than most terrestrial snakes. You may not notice you’ve been bitten until 30 minutes later when you start to get a headache. Six to twelve hours after that, your muscles are totally paralyzed and you go into cardiac arrest (if renal failure hasn’t already killed you).

Fun Fact #3: Their ancestors are terrestrial snakes, which is frightening to think about because it means back in the day some snake decided being restricted to killing things on land simply wasn’t enough. The good news is, sea snakes have evolved to the point where they can’t move very gracefully on solid ground anymore… EXCEPT FOR THE ONES THAT CAN. Don’t worry, though. Only five species can do that, and the scientific community snootily refers to them as “primitive”. (Because you definitely want to offend something that will murder you wherever you are.)

This krait will find you AND IT WILL END YOU.
(Thanks, Leoboudv on Flickr!)

Fun Fact #4: They can go up rivers where you least expect them. You know what else swam upriver? The sharks that inspired Jaws. I think we all know how well that went.

Fun Fact #5: They eat fish and eels, which is confusing because eels are basically the ocean’s snake knockoff. I wouldn’t know which freaky legless thing to cheer for in a snake/eel fight. No wait. I’d cheer for the eel because FORGET SNAKES.

I know this whole post comes off kind of crazy, but imagine you’re swimming in the ocean off the coast of Australia. You’re out there thinking, “Yikes. I know there are sharks and box jellyfish around here. I think I just brushed up against a stingray, and there’s always a chance I could be attacked by a kraken or drown, but thank heavens there are no snakes!” Then suddenly you’re face-to-face with a sea snake. I’d give up on life right then and there.

I should take up hang gliding or something. At least there are no flying snakes. What’s that? There are flying snakes? You can’t get away from snakes on planet Earth? There is literally no escape?

I cannot deal with this. I’m going to space.

Please, Google. Say there are no space snakes.

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31 comments

    • Stephanie

      And I have never wanted to move to Ireland more. Big on potatoes… snake-less… fun accents… it’s everything I want in a geographic location!

  1. heather

    Ugh. At least the Google page provided a map (of the world) to know how to avoid ocean snakes.
    My summer travel plans have not been compromised, however, my future adventures have been potentially limited.
    At least I didn’t print out the map. (Yet)

  2. Browsing the Atlas

    I could barely even look at these pictures. I’ve seen too many snakes lately, and thery’re not where they’re supposed to be (hidden or smashed under rocks). They’ve been right out in the open where I’ve been about to step!

    • Stephanie

      Ha. I just want you to know about the snake/ocean relationship to increase your chances of survival! Now we’re both scared… but we’re also safe from sea snakes.

    • emisformaker

      This is what has put you off of Australia? Trust me, sea snakes are the least of your worries there. Consider that Australia is home to more than 500 species of land snakes, and only a couple of them are non-venomous. And that doesn’t include all the venomous spiders, violent kangaroos, ill-tempered koalas, and platypuses. Yep, male platypuses are venomous. I say it’s generally best to stay away from a place that is actively trying to kill you at all times. Though I hear that the people can be quite nice.

      • K How

        Hahahaha! Wow. I’m going to have to tell my friend who wants to elope in Australia that it’s a terrible idea and she should just go to Vegas like a normal person.

      • emisformaker

        I was in love with Australia as a kid, but this has since turned to feelings of hurt and betrayal at finding out that it’s only out to murder me.

      • K How

        HAHAHA! My friend read all of this thread and she says that if her marriage can survive Australia, she’s good.

  3. cristycarringtonlewis

    I’m afraid of mail. And it mocks me by showing up in my mailbox almost every day of my life…with the exception of Sundays and legal holidays. As a result, I live in fear every day…with the exception of Sundays and legal holidays.

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  5. sarahnsh

    Yeah, sea snakes are definitely bad mo fos and they have more venom because they need it for their prey which is fish and… the look-alike kind of snake eels. I’m not really a fan of anything venomous and while I don’t think I’m scared of snakes, I also like the ones that have their own built-in alarm system (like rattlesnakes). :-D

  6. hollybernabe

    I like snakes. People always say snakes are slimy, but they aren’t. They are actually very smooth. Well, the ones I’ve held have been. Boas, pythons, garden snakes–all smooth. Rattlesnakes look like they might have rougher skins, though. I’m not in a huge hurry to find out, though. ;)

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