I really don’t get into most of the shows on Animal Planet. My youngest daughter does, mostly because she likes watching the animals, but she’s really gotten into all of the Animal Control shows for some weird reason. Today, she was watching Swamp Wars, a show about the snake and reptile control officers in Miami. We’ve had reptiles on and off all her life so she’s very knowledgeable about them and I caught an episode or two of the show because I happen to really like herps as well.
But one thing I will say though, that show is horribly alarmist.
Yes, they have lots of venomous snakes and dangerous crocodiles living in the Florida Everglades, but they act like every snake or reptile that they come across is out to murder babies in their cribs.
Isn’t part of being in animal control to educate the public?
Their officers keep talking like 3-foot boas are the most dangerous things on the planet. One guy went out, picked up a baby burmese python and the lady whose yard it came out of said “isn’t it dangerous to handle that snake?” The officer comes back with “I’m a professional!” Hell, it has nothing to do with being a professional, it has to do with the fact that a baby burmese is virtually harmless. Could it bite you? Sure. So could a mouse. That doesn’t make it dangerous. The officer should have told the lady that, while the snake is not native to the area, it isn’t particularly dangerous at this size. Seriously, had it been me, I would have told the lady to get a grip, having a venomous snake specialist come out to her house in the middle of the night to pick up a tiny, harmless snake is a waste of taxpayer money.
Or the officer who went to get an iguana stuck in a fence. Can an iguana hurt you? Sure. They have teeth, they have claws and they can whip you with their tails. I know, from personal experience, how much all of them can hurt. Yet a dog or cat can do as much damage or worse and you don’t see the animal control officers warning the public about how dangerous dogs and cats are, do you? Most wild animals just want to get away from you. Leave them alone and they’ll leave you alone. In the case of “hot” snakes, yes, you ought to tell people to avoid them like the plague, if they bite you it can be fatal and people who can’t tell the difference between a run-of-the-mill non-venomous snake and a “hot” snake should just avoid snakes altogether. But acting like all snakes are horrible and should be feared is stupid.
I suppose that lying to the public is easier than having to explain things to the ignorant, but come on. The show itself is absurdly alarmist and exploitative. One officer goes into a bathroom to reclaim a wild tegu and the show makes it sound like the tegu attacks the officer. In reality, it’s just trying to escape. The officer carries it outside and puts it in his truck. I guess they have to do something for exciting TV, but it gets ridiculous.
Maybe this is why I avoid so-called “reality TV”. It’s not reality, it’s an idiotic, hyped up version of it, carefully cut to make it look more exciting than it really is. No thanks, I think I’ll stick with real reality.