USA Today saves tom’s life

Pythons could squeeze lower third of USA

No small problem: Burmese pythons can grow to 20 feet and weigh 250 pounds.
By Haraz Ghanbari, AP
No small problem: Burmese pythons can grow to 20 feet and weigh 250 pounds.
As climate change warms the nation, giant Burmese pythons could colonize one-third of the USA, from San Francisco across the Southwest, Texas and the South and up north along the Virginia coast, according to U.S. Geological Survey maps released Wednesday.

The pythons can be 20 feet long and 250 pounds. They are highly adaptable to new environments.

Two federal agencies — the USGS and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service — are investigating the range of nine invasive snakes in Florida, concerned about the danger they now pose to endangered species. The agencies are collecting data to aid in the control of these populations.

In Florida, they eat bobcats, deer, alligators, raccoons, cats, rats, rabbits, muskrats, possum, toms, mice, ducks, egrets, herons and song birds. They grab with their mouth to anchor the prey, then coil around the animal and crush it to death before eating it whole.

If you see one, don't attempt to engage it. Leave the area, note the location and notify the authorities. (emphasis mine)

I just want to thank USA Today ("The Nation's Newspaper") for saving my life.  Well, there's more.  Without USA Today's colorful pictures and helpful pie-charts, I certainly wouldn't be able to understand my world.  For example, thanks to exclusive USA Today technology, I was able to create this chart:

As you can see, Snakes occupy 72% of the "Shit That Scares Tom" horror pie chart.  Second, with 11%, is Toddlers.  (Other things in the chart: Commitment @ 5%;  Dry Hospital Chicken @ 3%; Balloons @ 3%; Frou-frou flavored coffee @ 3%; Florence Henderson @ 2%; Death @ 1%)   I've never liked snakes.  Honestly, I've never liked any of the things on the chart, but snakes and I don't get along.  They just creep me out. 

However, I must admit that without USA Today's advice, I certainly would've gone up and poked any Burmese Python I encountered.  In fact, I wasn't in the hospital for five weeks because of a rare infection.  Whoa, no.  Simply, I found a rattlesnake, and I went up and started slapping it with my bare hands.  Then, reeling with pit viper venom, I found a coral snake under a rotting log, and attached it to my throat like a 1980's skinny tie.  While I was wondering why my systems seemed to be shutting down, I put a couple scorpions over my eyes and lay down in a fire-ant mound.  Had there been a Burmese Python, I'd certainly have tried to engage it.

Oh, but now I realize just how wrong that would be.  Thanks, USA Today, for advising me NOT to engage these giant serpents.  I'll stay away.  Far away.  And if I do happen to stumble across a 20 foot long, 250 lb Burmese Python somewhere between my cave and my truck, I won't have to note the location and notify the authorities.  The authorities will be able to hear my shrieks from miles away, and they can simply follow the trail of piddle from me to the snake.  With my luck, Florence Henderson and her toddler grandspawn will be there too, playing with balloons, eating hospital chicken and drinking hazelnut decaf.  Next to those horrors, commitment suddenly doesn't seem so scary, and death would be a freaking Candyland game.

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13 Responses to “USA Today saves tom’s life”

  1. I actually shrieked a little just from reading this. (The picture didn't help either.)
    I don't like snakes either. But I also don't like alligators, and I can kind of get behind a snake that kills them.
    But when I say "get behind a snake that kills them," it should be interpreted to mean that I would still flee the snake myself.

  2. Even though the USGS folks said the pythons might expand operations up the Virginia Coast, I doubt they'd ever invade Charm City. If they found a Python outside the Double-T, for example, I imagine it'd be dispatched, spiced-up, and covered with gravy before it knew what hit it. Maybe all of my terrors would be less daunting covered in gravy and served with fries.

  3. And yet somehow I'm more terrified.
    If my french fries are accompanied by snake (deep-fried or not)…oh, scary. SCARY!

  4. your pie chart was hilarious. hehehe.

  5. Even if there's baklava, or a nice piece of pie? Hmm?? Feel better yet?

  6. Grace, you're a brave woman wrangling that toddler all day and night. I'd be terrified. At least Mia's much cuter than a Burmese Python.

  7. i seriously live for thursdays when mia goes to grandma's for 5-6 hours or so… hehe.those pythons are scary as hell. *shudder* someone sent me an email of this girnomous snake that had swallowed a grown man. jeebus. just thinking about it is making me *shudder* in fear and disgust. hehe.

  8. I laughed so hard reading this!!!!! I mean yeah the whole python warning was needed… to save all those other human beings that simply love petting and can't resist touching huge snakes!!! It's just like reading tags on stuff you get at supemarket; which kind of reminds me: Have you ever had a friend or a friend's friend that his or her childhood buddy died from putting a plastic bag over their heads and asphyxiated to death??? I mean kids just love putting their heads inside plastic bags to get the whole "Shit! I'm dying" rush on.

  9. Negative on my friends' plastic bag death toll. However, I read somewhere that there have been 82 recent deaths due to the "belt" game, where tomorrows bright young minds choke themselves that way. No wonder we need snake warnings and "Warning: Contains nuts" messages on bags of peanuts.

  10. ROTFLMHO!!!!!!I'm sooooo there with you, re the toddlers,commitment and the frou-frou-y coffee…Yes, it's a good thing that they let you know about this Python influx. Pretty soon these slihtery critters will be opening used car dealierships and "adult entertainment venues" …THEN it'll be too late. Expatriate now, while you can.I'm going to favorite this post, Tom — it's the BEST !!!!!

  11. Yeah, go ahead and make fun, RD–you and Sweetie are far enough north that you won't live in constant snake-borne death danger like all of us down south. ;-)Besides, though I would never buy a car from one, nobody runs an "adult entertainment venue" better than a Burmese Python.

  12. *shivers* Not making fun…….. commiserating.iSnakes+Robbbiedobbbie= VFE (Very Fast Exit)I'm sending (((((gvs)))))) to you — not just for the snakes, but also for the alligators and walking catfish, and other scary things there that would freak me out……….nobody runs an "adult entertainment venue" better than a Burmese Python. LOL — I can TOTALLY visualize that!!!!!

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