I sort of dropped out of my online presence at some point last week but fortunately had my weekend posts set up and ready to go. So sorry about not keeping up with things on here, not that I’m particularly good at that normally. I wanted a break from something, I’m not totally sure what but it was definitely something. Anywho, I’m back now and hopefully refreshed enough to put together a semi decent blog post.
Last night I read a post by Jessica Bakkers about the perils of Australia, or Straya, in a positively dry and sarcastic way that I loved. Which inevitably involved snakes, it would not have been a comprehensive post otherwise. Unfortunately I have a bit of a problem with snakes… I think it’s a healthy fear, because a lot of people have died thanks to snakes. But it also probably verges on the phobia side of things, which means it’s also an irrational fear. And when I say ‘probably verges on’ I mean I’m so far past the verge I couldn’t see to it with binoculars.
So last night at work my thoughts tended to return to snakes and the possibility of one being hidden somewhere in the warehouse. And you might think to yourself ‘but S, don’t you live and work in England? Where there is only one type of venomous snake and it’s generally considered to be shy and non aggressive…’ And to that I say this ‘…Shut up!’
And once I was done feeling insulted I’d probably also point out that the kind of person likely to keep a dangerous snake as a pet is also probably the kind of person who is dim enough to allow their pet snake an easy escape route… And then of course I was thinking about why anyone would want to keep a snake as a pet, and I’m not only thinking that because I’m shit my pants scared of them. Nope, what I don’t get is what you get out of it as a pet owner. I don’t particularly like dogs but I can see their unconditional love for their owner as appealing. I think cats are arseholes that stare you down while shitting on your new carpet, but then they sit on your lap and you don’t mind anymore because they’re soft and furry and they occasionally show a mutual affection.
Most pets I understand because in some way they return your affections. But snakes I don’t get. Their brains are so underdeveloped that they are incapable of strong emotions such as love. Some people say ‘but my snake Eyes comes back to me.’ And yeah maybe Eyes does, but to be honest it’s not you he’s coming for, it’s your warmth… it’s a cold blooded animal that wants your warmth…
On the opposite end of the spectrum though you’ve got Orca (This is not me saying they should be kept as pets though). If you don’t know much about marine life and you’ve not watched that amazing documentary Blackfish, you’ll more likely know them as “Killer Whales”. Which is different from Killer Wales, because that’s definitely a thriller about an Englishman moving to a remote part of Wales and the firmly Welsh, only Welsh speaking residents begin torturing him (… I may have made that up, I’m pretty sure the Welsh are too pleasant for that).
Anyway, Orca are not only capable of the strong emotions that snakes aren’t, but they are more emotional than humans. They are more family orientated than us, sticking with their mothers for their entire lives. And apparently you do not want to hear the agony of a mother whale separated from her child. The parts of the brain responsible for emotions are proportionately larger in orca than they are in humans, so even though I’m telling you about the kind of emotional attachment these whales have for each other we can never fully understand it. We aren’t capable of that level of attachment and emotion.
This little factoid also somewhat explains mass beachings. Rather than leave behind the beached member of their whale family they all just go with it and would rather all die than leave one behind. Which sounds not too dissimilar to the human ‘let no man get left behind’ attitude, but in reality humans wouldn’t do that. It’s very easy for us as humans to assume that because we are the most intelligent life forms on the planet we are superior in every respect. But we probably fall somewhat further down the list of emotional animals than we might like to believe. After all there’s a lot of different kinds of whales, there’s dolphins and primates.
With our higher thought comes rationalisation. Our emotions are broken down, considered, eased with conversation. But these animals just feel, it’s not rationalised.
So we are better than snakes… and probably most other reptiles. There’s a reason the snake was chosen to represent the devil… But the damage we do to the world around us affects animals that feel more deeply than us. It’s hard not to be depressed when you come to these realisations and often times they’ll leave me feeling pretty empty and useless. But I find myself in a more positive mood currently, and instead I’ll just marvel in the wonder of the animal kingdom we are only a small part of.
P.S. heard a piece of something on the TV at work the other day that made me stop and consider things. Not sure who said it but
‘If Trump had been in power during the Cuban missile crisis I wouldn’t have been born.’
That could be a t-shirt for a great many people I think.