A Rattlesnake Solution


Sam Wilkinson

According to a faithful reader, I'm Ordinary Times's "least thoughtful writer." So I've got that going for me, which is nice.

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35 Responses

  1. Avatar Chris says:

    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.Report

  2. Avatar Vikram Bath says:

    From the Wikipedia link to the Brazilian snake island:

    by some estimates one snake to every square meter of the island


  3. Avatar Glyph says:

    Why, I’m beginning to suspect that this character you spoke to was not a real herpetologist at all!


  4. Avatar James K says:

    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.Report

  5. Avatar Damon says:


    “Democracy” won in the Cape Wind deal. Are you AGAINST DEMOCRACY?!!???

    All those dollar bills get to vote baby. “Murica!Report

  6. Avatar Kim says:

    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.Report

  7. Avatar Kolohe says:

    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.Report

  8. Avatar Sam says:

    Basically, I’m imagining Martha’s Vineyard as this nightmare.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Sam says:

      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.Report

  9. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Snakes might be dangerous but some of them are actually rather pretty and interesting as animals go.Report

  10. Avatar Kazzy says:

    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!Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Kazzy says:

      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.Report

    • Avatar Sam in reply to Kazzy says:

      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.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Sam says:

        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?Report

  11. Avatar KatherineMW says:

    Snakes are awesome. And I agree with your proposal.Report

  12. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    I propose we make Sam change his handle to Jebediah Springfield.Report

  13. Avatar Joe Sal says:

    Rattlesnakes are subjectively awesome……with barbeque sauce.Report