As I talked about in an earlier blog, I love newspapers and I read mine every day.
The printed-on-paper, hold-in-your-hands-and-get-newsprint-on-your-fingers version.
I get a helping of current events, unbiased writing from intelligent, articulate reporters, and a dose of humans, sometimes acting wisely and other times…not so much.
Human behavior is very much the theme of Sunday’s The (almost) Back Page, a collection of short pieces mostly about people’s penchant for doing stupid and/or weird things.
A recent Back Page had three stories that particularly caught my eye, since all were reptile-themed and all happened within days of each other.
Our first story takes place in Kansas City, MO when a landlord was just going about his business, evicting tenant Sean Casey.
On this property was a hot tub.
And in the hot tub:
A seven-foot 200 pound alligator.
Sean called the alligator “Catfish” described him as “a big and cuddly lizard who smiled all the time.”
“I could pet him and he would wag his tail,” said Sean.
Sean’s other roommates included three pythons, rabbits, and several domesticated animals including cats. Catfish had full freedom of the house, and I’m guessing he didn’t have to work too hard for his dinner.
It’s illegal to own alligators in Kansas City, MO so Catfish was rounded up by authorities and taken to a wildlife sanctuary.
Here’s Sean visiting Catfish – as affectionate as ever:
Our second story is crocodile-related and comes to us from St. Augustine, FL.
Brian Hatfield broke into the Alligator Farm Zoological Park and jumped into a pond:
The pond was full of crocodiles.
Security video shows a nine-foot crocodile lunging at Brian, who escaped the water and sat down on the bank of the pool. At that point, the “crocodile locked onto his left foot,” according to the park’s director.
Various articles don’t mention why Brian did this, but I suspect he read about Sean and Catfish, and thought, “I’d like to cuddle a big reptile, too. Maybe it will wag its tail!”
Brian was arrested and being held without bond.
And, alas, without any cuddling.
Perhaps the best part of the story was that before he jumped into the pond, Brian took off his shorts and shoes.
Talk about “reptile theme”!
Crocs…………………………………………………and crocs. Get it?
Our third reptile-related story happened in Davie, FL when authorities captured an unidentified owner’s pet.
This six-foot+ Asian water monitor:
Yes, in Florida it’s legal to own Asian water monitors. You can buy a cute little baby monitor online for $170 plus shipping, while an adult will cost you $750 to $1,000+.
The monitor was first reported in August but wasn’t rounded up until early November. During that time it terrorized residents of a suburban Miami neighborhood, lurking in their back yards and scratching at their patio doors. It probably didn’t make the local rodents and frog population too happy, either, as those are its dinner du jour.
Which doesn’t mean it wouldn’t take a bite out of you. It would, and gladly.
The owner of a wildlife removal and rescue company said the monitor was “released,” meaning its owner didn’t want it anymore and turned it loose.
So it’s ironic that authorities returned it to its owner, and issued a criminal citation for the monitor’s escape.
Can’t you hear the conversation?
Owner: Dude, I told you to get lost!
Monitor: Dude, I wanna cuddle!
After reading this, wouldn’t you agree…