Danger! Watch for falling cows!
We might be inundated with noxious weeds.
We might be surrounded by a rapidly falling economy. But, by God, we are safe from snakehead fish.
If you recall, I recently wrote a column outlining the potential danger of these fish. They have teeth, they grow to 3 feet in length, they attack people. In China they’re a delicacy, in the U.S., they’re the noxious weed of the water world. You say tomahto; I say tomato.
Regardless your stance on tomatoes, these snakes have found their way into the United States and are threatening Dunkin’ Donuts customers everywhere. Well, at least in Maryland, where two of them have not only outgrown the frying pan, but have had the gall to reproduce.
Oh, did I mention these things can walk? They get up on their buff pectoral fins and waddle, enabling them to access your town.
But – and I must admit, I feel almost like the columnist Dave Barry because I now have a “Following” – a reader wrote to tell me that Summit County will forever be safe from snakehead fish. Of course, said reader didn’t want me to divulge his name – I think he said something about “associations and reputations” – but we’ll call him … “Steve from Minnesota.”
“We have conducted a series of experiments that give hope to you in the High Country,” “Steve from Minnesota” said. “Using snakefish gleaned from exotic fish tanks from the region – and with full endorsement of the local PETA chapter whose members share our horror – we took these nasty varmints to an altitude of 8,000 feet (by small aircraft) and dropped a double-bagged pet fish paper carton (interestingly enough, resembling Chinese takeout containers). Our crack ground team was nearly hit on the head by our experiment, but after recovering from the near-miss, they scrambled to open the package. They found all the snakefish to be dead. Which proves, using our scientific theory and logic, that snakefish can’t live above 8,000 feet.
“You’re safe in Summit County!”
Well, phew! “Steve from Minnesota” has alleviated our fears and re-instilled in us the belief that the folks in Minnesota have even more boring summers than we do here in Summit County.
So we’re on to different noxious animals, like the Alien Caribbean frogs that have invaded Hawaii. Not only are these frogs not native to the islands, they are there on illegal visas, and reproducing like crazy. And the noise! All that noise!
The Alien Caribbean frog’s croak has been measured as high as 173 decibels. That almost exceeds the volume emitted by our cat, Binky, who is deaf and can’t hear the neighbors knocking on the door to complain when she meows.
And what about the green crab that has invaded the East Coast? Researchers have extensively sampled green crab populations throughout their native and introduced ranges – and found they are equally tasty when dipped in garlic and butter. No wait! They’ve discovered that in Europe, the crabs are small and less abundant in areas where they are infected by a parasitic barnacle that – cross your claws! -castrates crabs.
Parasitic castrators! Yikes! That’s one way to nip the spread of noxious creatures in the bud.
I like “Steve from Minnesota’s” idea.
For a few million dollars a year, I will offer my services as a researcher, charter a plane and drop noxious frogs and non-native cows to see if they can live above 8,000 feet.
You can never be too safe.
Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 228 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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