A Rattlesnake Solution

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Several years ago, rich people who summered on Martha’s Vineyard objected aggressively to the possibility of a wind farm being installed anywhere near their precious mansions. Electricity production is something for the poors to see, not them, and so under the guise of environmental objections, these rich people fought the proposal goldtooth-and-goldnail. The horrors of seeing some very small windmills way off in the distance was simply too overwhelming to comprehend and, as a result, very many fainting couches were fetched. Eventually, Cape Wind died. Way to go rich people.

This was wasted time though. The rich people were concerned only about themselves and their precious views of the Atlantic Ocean. How on earth could they possibly have stood around sockless in boat shoes if there were windmills anywhere within even ten miles of them? As the old saying goes, “A life spent sockless in boat shoes with windwills anywhere within even ten miles of you is a life not worth living.”

With Cape Wind gone, these heroic warriors have presumably stood down, victorious and relieved that all looming threats to their very existence has receded into the distance, smaller even that those turbines would have been. Now is a time for recovery. Those deep wounds must be given time to heal. Energy must be replenished.

Now is the time to strike, and although I can think of a litany of things that I’d like to happen to this particular bunch, it seems as if the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife’s “Bad Ideas Straight Out Of A B-Movie” Unit already has a better one: breed deadly timber rattlesnakes on an unoccupied island in the Quabbin Resevoir.

Like, literally, drop ten horny rattlesnakes onto an unoccupied island so that they can bone (?) their brains out. The resulting baby rattlesnakes will then repeat the process, until the island (Mount Zion) is just covered with deadly timber rattlesnakes, a species that has recently been in decline. The plan is essentially a recreation of Brazil’s famous Holy Shit This Is A Real Island That Really Exists Island.

The response to this plan has been less than enthusiastic, either because the plan doesn’t aggressively populate the island with enough snakes (snake enthusiasts are probably saying this, because they are gross people) or because there is something off-putting about the idea of an uninhabited island basically turning into something straight out of an Indiana Jones movie (everybody else IS saying this). That second part has one particular concerning element to it: Timber rattlesnakes can swim, especially in freshwater, so what is worrying people most is what happens after the orgy (a technical term used by professional herpetologists to describe snake-boning) is over.

This seems like an entirely reasonable thing to be worried about. As thoroughly documented in various documentaries, traveling snakes are among the most dangerous animals in the world. But although the herpetologist I spoke to, Beau Akonstrikter, did confirm that timber rattlesnakes could survive short swims in freshwater, he insisted that they were very unlikely to survive trips made in salt-water.

You can see where I’m going with this.

The rich people who sank Cape Wind did so because they claimed to care so much about environmental issues that they could not possibly stomach a wind farm being located nowhere near them. Residents in and around the Quabbin Resevoir are worried about these snakes and their ability to swim onto the mainland. The solution then is simple: We catapult the amorous timber rattlesnakes onto Martha’s Vineyard and then lock the doors behind them. Unfortunately, those on the island will be stuck there, probably forever, and while the snakes themselves will breed themselves to supremacy, they will not be able to escape, mostly because of the saltwater, but also because nobody will ever be allowed to travel to or from the island ever again.

Everybody wins!

Well, except for the rich people who will get killed by eaten whole by the rattlesnakes. But they’re the ones who loved nature so much that they stopped the construction of an entirely reasonable windfarm – surely to die by nature’s most horrifying predator will be as pleasing a way to go as can be imagined. By me. Because snakes are gross. And those people are grosser.


[Image via Wikipedia.]

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35 thoughts on “A Rattlesnake Solution

  1. First, I am excited about an American snake island, and plan to visit when they’ve had sufficient time to breed. Though I do feel bad for the island’s rat and mouse populations. Perhaps also the baby bunnies there.

    Also, the golden lanceheads on Ilha da Queimada Grande are really interesting. I watched a documentary about the island once, and they are freaky and terrifying. A large number of the individuals are intersex, which means exactly what you’d think it means. They’re also spectacularly poisonous, perhaps the most deadly in the Americas. Basically, never go near that island.


  2. Gee Sam, tell us that you really think :)

    In all seriousness, this is one of the problems with the kinds of environmental or land use regulation that give local governments veto power over the project. Groups that will ear costs from the project, even fi those cost are outweighed by the overall benefits, can often stymies a project, That is even easier if the group taking the hit are politically connected.

    I’m not suggested a free-for-all mind you, but something with a bit less discretion for local government would be useful. My preferred approach would be something like a paying a fee to government for permission to build structures with negative externalities. The cost of different externalities can be set on a standardised scale, thereby reducing the opportunity for political manipulation.


  3. Dude. You are cruel.
    Yes, let’s go ahead and put rattlesnakes on an island full of Deaf People!

    And people get upset when I use the technical term idiot.


  4. And then Sam Jackson will move them all from the lowlands of down-island to hills of up-island, because he will be tired of the Martha’s Vineyard snakes on the Martha’s Vineyard plain.


    • Martha’s Vineyard, America’s new death penalty system. Drop off the convicted at Squibnocket Point, and if they can make it to Oak Bluffs, they can have their sentence commuted.


  5. First, I must applaud and admit my immense envy of the writing style employed here, Good Sam. Truly funny stuff.

    Perhaps engaging too seriously with the topic at hand, why exactly are we populating islands with snakes that would otherwise be extinct? I mean, I struggle to see how an isolated island of snakes contributes to the broader ecosystem. So why bother?

    As to Martha’s Vineyard… well, it’s MARTHA’S Vineyard… not HIPPY’S Vineyard. Take your pachouli oils elsewhere, punk!


    • Though nothing I’ve read so far indicates this, I assume that they’re planning on letting them build a large enough population in the relative safety and isolation of the island to allow them to then transplant them into other areas of their natural range.


    • I think the idea is restoring a population that died out and, to be fair, I may have slightly exaggerated the scientists stated goals. But apparently, Massachusetts once had timber rattlesnakes, and now they don’t. so the idea is getting back to the good old days of people getting eaten whole by snakes, I guess.


      • And Brazil?

        Are we sure we want these monsters?

        Because that is what they are. Monsters. Shouldn’t we be putting our conservation efforts to more palatable creatures? Like facehuggers?


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