A 12-foot long python escaped from the Blue Zoo Aquarium in Baton Rouge a few days ago, and the Fire Department began looking for it in the Mall of Louisiana.
But do not worry. A Blue Zoo spokesperson said that Cara (the snake's name) is "a very sweet snake." Apparently, it poses no threat to my grandchildren.
I did not know that Baton Rouge's biggest shopping mall even had a zoo. But it does. It is a private enterprise that charges daily admission and (until recently at least) offered a snake show three times a week.
It is illegal for people to own giant, exotic snakes in Louisiana unless they have a government permit. I quote the statute:
The importation or private possession of constrictor snakes in excess of eight feet long . . obtained in any manner, shall be only by permit issued by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries except for animals kept by animal sanctuaries, zoos, aquariums, wildlife research centers, scientific organizations, and medical research facilities . . . .
I feel sure the Blue Zoo is legally entitled to possess a snake and was not breaking the law by keeping it in its shopping mall location.
But what the hell are we doing?
The Florida Everglades are infested with pythons because people once owned them as pets. Those snakes either escaped or were set free by owners who got bored with them.
As far as anyone knows, there are no pythons in South Louisiana, although the climate is hospitable to them. The Blue Zoon Aquarium is not far from Bluebonnet Bayou, where native snakes thrive. I'm sure Care would feel at home there.
Our world is dangerous enough without running unnecessary risks that can make it more dangerous. We will not be made safer by doing things we shouldn't be doing just to make a buck.
The Blue Zoo people are sorry Cara slithered away. "This is like we lost our child," a spokeswoman lamented.
Nevertheless, Cara is no less dangerous because it has a cute name. You can name an alligator Tiffany, and the son-of-a-bitch will still kill you.
Postscript: Searchers found Cara this morning. The snake was in a crawlspace inside the shopping mall.
|"A very sweet snake"|