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15 June 2014

Last night I watched a TV episode from World’s Scariest Animal Attacks, and it reminded me all over again of the old Victorian joke. This animal is dangerous, when attacked it defends itself. The series shows animal attacks, however most are not gratuitous but provoked. There is the man using a recently captured alligator in a demonstation – of what, apart from sadism I found it hard to decide. But while the cheering crowd looked on and applaused, the reptile was draged backwards again and again while a stick was repeatedly jabbed into its softer parts until in rage, pain, and terror, the alligator moved faster than its ‘handler’ had expected and sank its teeth into him. Then there were the African elephants. Swimming quietly, a tiny calf amongst them, when a pair of canoeists approached. What part of ‘wild elephants are very protective of their young‘ didn’t they get? But no, they approach so closely that the elephants felt the calf in danger and attacked the canoe. Everyone survived, but how unnecessary – and how stupid. There was also an anaconda, peacefully slithering through its territory when the wilderness guide for a TV presenter seizes it by the tail, hits it about the head, and waves the terrified and angry snake about like a trophy. No surprise that it latched on to the presenter’s arm and hung on like a pitbull as soon as the guide relaxed some of his grip and attention. Looking at this show it occurs to me that perhaps calling it World’s Scariest Human Attacks on Animals, might be closer to the truth. I have known a sufficiently panicked mouse to bite a cat, what is it about humans that they think this won’t apply to them with elephants, anacondas, alligators, and other creatures, because as the show amply demonstrates. It does apply!

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