Snakes in Your Suitcase

According to a story in the China Daily newspaper he craze for unique pets among residents of Guangzhou has created a thriving market for illegally imported animals. The most sought after animals that are found in suitcases for smuggling to North America are snakes and lizards. No wonder we are so concerned about finding ,snakes on a plane., The threat is very real and not just a joke.

Customs officials recently cracked a case in which a South Korean man tried to smuggle 50 boas and 56 lizards into Guangzhou from Jakarta, Indonesia, by air. Customs and anti-smuggling officials spotted 10 suspicious bags and three boxes in his suitcase as his luggage passed through a scanner on December 14. Just even in terms of animal cruelty it is difficult to think what physical effects all of that radiation might have had on those snakes. The airport saner probably sterilized them.

Closer investigation revealed the contraband snakes and lizards. Animal experts said the animals belonged to 10 different species. Sixty-seven of the reptiles were on the appendix ii list of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, making them subject to limits when it comes to international trade.

Of course one cannot help but wonder what kind of packing job needed to be done to get so many reptiles into a suitcase and just how happy the snakes might have been to have the suitcase finally opened so they could jump out at the customs officials. With that many snakes in one suitcase it might have been like those novelty cans full of spongy snakes that pop out in your face.

Apparently there is an absolute passion for rare snakes in Guangzhou and this has skyrocketed the price of certain snakes. They have become real status symbols. It is much cheaper to have a snake or two smuggled in for you as they cost two thirds less than the normal price for a snake in this Chinese province. This is how this lucrative smuggling business ever came to be in the first place.

Chen Xi, vice-president of an environmental protection society at South China Agricultural University, said it had become a fad among local residents to own unique pets, rather than the more traditional cats and dogs. This is causing a scary number of non-indigenous animals to be imported into the country which of course could be of great damage to natural species if they were somehow let loose. It only takes one pregnant animal escaping to cause havoc and a disturbance to an entire eco system. Not only would these important snakes be threatening to the population of natural snakes but also to any type of rat or other vermin they may snack on.

His group, the Environmental & Science and Technology Association, launched a one-year study of the trend in August, hoping to measure its impact on the environment.

Myths About Snakes

As a result of phobias, fears and wives’ tales there a number of widespread myths about snakes that are simply not true:   ·                    

All snakes will try to strangle you or your pet , Only constrictors will attempt to this and there are only two constrictors in North America , the Rosy Boa and the Rubber Boa.            

A snake will chase you   – There is no factual basis for this myth. A snake usually minds it’s own business as it observes that you are too big to eat. Most snakes tend to leave people alone unless poked, picked up or attacked.  

A coiled snake is about to strike and bite , Whether a snake is coiled or not is not any indication of its intentions. The reality is that it can strike from any position.

 If you kill a snake another snake will stalk you. — Snakes are not vengeful and they do not have relationships with their brothers and sisters.   Their primal reptilian brains simply do not retain the kind of information needed to ,plot revenge.,   It is also not true that snakes travel in pairs so the survivor can come after you.  

A snake will hypnotize you and then strike , The reason a snake seems to have powers of hypnosis is because it has no eyelids and cannot blink. This results in a relentless stare. If it strikes it is doing so because you are staring it directly in the eye, which is not advised with any kind of wild animal.  

Snakes can be charmed with music , You have probably seen the quintessential ,snake charmer, in movies and in documentaries blowing on a flute to keep a snake dancing. The primal brain of a snake simply detects the movement of the flute as ,threatening, and responds to it by moving its body to keep a close eye on it. It is not dancing, and snake charming not anything that you should try in the wild or at home.                

Snakes suck the milk out of cow’s udders , This is simply not true. Snakes are carnivores and they don’t eat milk.

Snakes use their tails like whips , This is not true. Snakes that are called whiptails were called so because they look like.

Hognose Snakes kill with their breath , A modern belief is that a Hognose snake can kill a person who is up to twenty feet away just by breathing on them. This is because the Hognose snake has adders that puff out and make the snake appear to be blowing air at the attacker.  

The number of rattles on its tail determines the age of a rattlesnake. — Rattles frequently break off, and therefore is an unreliable method to determine age.                    

Even a very dangerous snake will not bite a shaman or if it is your totem animal.   -Many amateur shamans may be disappointed to discover that in most North American cultures, the snake has to bite you at least once before you are considered ,magical.,