Think Twice Before Killing That Beast
I woke up with a start. I had just had a dream. A "snake" encounter! You see, my dread of snakes is not particularly worse that an average person. (Afterall, I had held live snakes in my hand. All it takes is to ensure you break its back, hold down its neck to the ground with a stick, then simply grasp the back of its upper neck! I even went as far as holding a spoon to the fangs and extracting some venom!)
Now back to the dream: I observed that a particular segment of a tree branch looked quite dead....as a reed held it in tight mutiple twists....at strangulation! My friend ventured to yank it off....but careful enough to warn that there might be a snake dwelling therein. He gingerly thrust his hand into the hole. And viola! A snake! Scary green eyes. Typical triangular head. Parallel longitudinal stripes at back of head. Rather fat. But short of length. A python? A viper perhaps. I had not quite gotten round to learning snake names. But had killed and eaten quite a few!
Back to the story: My friend suddenly released his hold on the snake's head....then smilingly allowed it to go. I was livid with rage! What point was he trying to make....releasing a "poisonous" snake in a crowded neighbourhood?! Trying to show off he is an animal lover?
When snakes are captured alive, then released in documentaries, didn't he notice that they are transported far away from human habitation prior to such good-natured release?
My fixated instinct...like many of us....was to kill that snake! True reason? I couldn't be sure which weighed more on my mind....public safety....or the near-miss of a snake meal!
So, as fate would have it...as I sat up to switch on the TV, I met an animal documentary partly featuring a giant rat at work....detecting TB in humans....using its powerful sense of smell....faster than any known machine yet invented! It worked in concert with its mates so equally trained....in a reward-for-success deal....akin to the Pavlov feat....a banana or peanut for success....at training!
Then I remember all those dogs....working....sniffing out drugs and criminals....guiding the blind 24-7....protecting their masters!
So, before smashing the head of that beast, think of ways it can be made useful....even if it is a snake! Its venom would surely be useful in preparing an anti-venom....for future victims of snake bites. Just call in the experts....like the fire service....to handle the situation.
Every animal is useful! Submarines are fashioned after the whale! Aeroplanes are designed with birds in mind! In fact, fighter-bombers were inspired by the awesome manouverability of hawks, eagles and falcons! The design of the helicopter was inspired by the dragon-fly! Ants went a long way to influence miniaturization! Rodents inspire subterrian and tunnelling technology and ventilation of mines!
And remember Ebola is still a threat....
....for eaters of monkeys and "bush" meat!
Dr Tosin Akindele is a Lagos-based Medical Practitioner, a former Secretary of AGPMPN Ikorodu zone, a former Secretary of the Quackery Committee of AGPMPN Lagos State Branch, founder of Analytical Minds, a good health advocate and public affairs analyst.