Publication Date 4-11-19

Let’s talk math, people.

Yes, there’s a chance part of Minnesota is going to get 26 inches of snow in the middle of April. That is bad.

Really bad.

But last week in Florida they captured a 17-foot long Burmese python that contained 73 eggs.

That’s worse. That’s a lot worse.

I had to do the math again this morning.

First of all, 17 feet is a big snake. Stand it on end it’s two and a half times as tall as my wife and outweighs her by a considerable amount. I’m not really comfortable with snakes like that existing, anywhere. I particularly don’t want to be near one.

More math. My house is 1,939 miles from where the snake was found. Pythons that big can only slither about a mile an hour. I don’t know what kind of work ethic snakes have, but if it was particularly dedicated, and headed directly for me, at 12 hours a day it would take 161 days to be on my doorstep.  On average, we have about 113 days without a killing frost, so I’m probably safe.

Then I made the mistake of reading a little further. Giant pythons are one of the slowest snakes, but a black mamba can slither at 12.5 miles an hour.

Game changer.

I don’t know if there are black mambas in Florida. Considering they have pythons from Burma, I see no reason why they wouldn’t have black mambas from Africa.

Black mambas are skinny, and sneaky, and really good at hiding. And they may be slender, but they can grow to 12 feet and their bite can kill an average human in thirty minutes.

I don’t think it would take that long to kill me, because if I saw one, I’m pretty sure I would die instantaneously of a heart attack – no bite required. Even being generous, though, 30 minutes isn’t very long. That’s only half the length of one episode of “Antiques Road Show.” I could be dead for half an hour before my wife even wondered where I was.

I don’t know what to do. Most of my self-defense plans revolve around fighting off zombies and rabid skunks. The only snake-related plan I had was if a giant python did show up, maybe by hitchhiking on a semi, I’d just throw my wife’s dog at it and make my escape while the snake was dining. I’m not very quick, but I think I can move faster than 1 mph.

But 12.5 mph? I haven’t moved that fast since 1973. I’m prepared to deal with a giant snake I can see coming and outrun. Not one that’s sneaky and fast.

Western Minnesota may not be perfect, but there are few random death threats here. If you can resist the urge to be stupid, life is pretty safe. No hurricanes or earthquakes, and you can go out in a boat and not worry about great white sharks or a rampaging hippopotamus. A decent basement will usually protect you from tornados and when there’s a blizzard, you just stay home. If you remember sunscreen and bug repellent, life is pretty good. 

It’s not a topic I bring up very often. First, I don’t want all of you who live somewhere else to feel bad about your lives. Second, while we do have room for more people to move to Big Stone County, we really don’t have room for all of you.

I guess what I’m saying is, bring on the snow, baby. We’ve got snakes to freeze.

Copyright 2019 Brent Olson

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