My smell loving cat, Pumpkin, woke me up about 3:00 this morning. She was getting under my left bicep and then pushing my arm up until she could walk under it and drag my fingers across her back. Thinking she wanted to be petted, I started petting her. She immediately went down by my knees and stopped purring. So I closed my eyes and left my arm free. A couple of minutes later she came back, pushed up my arm and began doing it again. I have no idea why she was doing this but she was purring like a tiger and that was the sound I fell asleep to. In other words, while the situation may be odd there is very little that can go wrong. This would be VERY different than the subject of today’s blog. Like the famous story of Harvey Whetstone, who strapped a JATO Rocket to a Chevy to see if he could get on TV, today’s “Fun with Fools” adventure clears an easy path to a Darwin Award.
Kari Huus of msnbc.com is reproting that the State of Florida is looking for people to wrestle wild crocodiles. No experience required.
Looking for a job with a little adventure to it? Florida conservation officials are recruiting “crocodile response agents” to help corral the wayward reptiles. No experience required.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is planning to hire two to four more part-time agents — there is currently just one — to respond to calls when crocodiles stray onto human turf in the Florida Keys, the string of wetland islands at the southern tip of the state.
Crocodile response agents “assist in handling human-American Crocodile conflicts,” wrote Carli Segelson, spokesperson for the Florida commission’s south region, in an email response to msnbc.com questions. “Their duties include, site visits, captures, translocations, carcass recoveries, other duties as needed.”
The agents apparently are part of an attempt to address an increasing number of crocodile sightings, and calm alarm caused when a 10-foot-long crocodile snatched a family dog near Key Largo in March. The crocodile drowned the pet — as they typically do before eating their prey — before locals chased down the creature and retrieved the canine carcass, the Miami Herald reported.
The conservation commission’s challenge is not only to protect humans and their pets from crocodiles, but also to prevent harm to the crocodiles, which are slowly recovering from near extinction.
The saltwater-dwelling American crocodile was listed as endangered in 1975 when numbers dropped as low as 300. It is now considered threatened, numbering around 1,500, according to Segelson.
Florida and other parts of the Southeast U.S. also have a large population of the freshwater American alligator, a cousin of the crocodile, and they also make unwelcome appearances.
According to the conservation commission, learning to handle these reptiles is relatively easy. A crocodile response agent earns $25 an hours and works as needed. Experience is preferred but not required, and training is provided.
“There is inherent danger handling any live crocodilian,” wrote Segelson. “However, our (agents) are taught safe handling and transport techniques to protect them and the crocodile from injury. Consequently, the danger is minimal.”
Some residents along the shorelines and canals of the Keys are not happy about the re-emergence of the giant reptiles, which can grow up to 15 feet long.
“Do we wait until a child gets hurt until we do something?” asked Councilman Dave Purdo at a village council meeting in Islamorada on May 30, according to a report by keysnews.com. “Is that what we’re waiting for, until a child gets hurt?”
According to the report, state conservation biologist Lindsey Hord told the meeting there has never been a recorded crocodile attack on a human in all of Florida, but he acknowledged that crocodiles present a danger, especially to pets.
He urged people to take precautions such as fencing their dock areas, keeping children and pets away from canals and either not swimming at all or avoiding swimming at night. He also said fishermen should avoid dumping the waste from fish-cleaning along the banks because that tends to attract hungry crocodiles.
“What you are experiencing is the return of the crocodile to its historic range,” Lindsey told the council, according to keysnews.com. “We can live with these things. It just requires acceptance of the fact that they are going to be here, and to accommodate that, taking some common sense safety steps.”
“Experience is preferred but not required, and training is provided.”
Famous last words.
I see a lot of two or three limbed Floridans in the near future. In a state not exactly known for its intellectual prowess or common sense asking random people ot jump on crocodiles to save puppies is just asking for some very funny blogs.
I mean horrible tragedies.
No, on second thought, I had it right the first time.
Listen to Bill McCormick on WBIG (FOX! Sports) every Friday around 9:10 AM.