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.
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.
– 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.)
– My home and vehicle
– Your homes and vehicles
– Outer space
– 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.
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.)
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.