Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Snakes on a Plane

Everyone who's seen Rain Man knows that Quantas is the safest airline in the world (but see Quantas fatal accidents). Today's news out of Australia, however, suggests that they may also be the first airline to ground a flight because of a harmless python. The Age is reporting that a flight from Melbourne to Sydney was cancelled after four juvenile Stimson's pythons (Antaresia stimsoni) went missing during a previous flight from Alice Springs to Melbourne. I hope they cancelled this flight because of concern about the snake gumming up the plane's mechanics, because Stimson's pythons are among the most docile snakes on the planet. As someone who's had ~50% success tracking down escaped snakes, I wish Quantas the best of luck in their efforts to track down the little beasts. My advice: If you look at something and say to yourself "I bet a snake couldn't get into that", you're wrong.

9 comments:

Liam Revell said...

Evidently after failing to locate the snakes they have fumigated the entire aircraft. Curious about the effectiveness of fumigants against snakes & reptiles, I did a little investigation and tada (in the scientific literature, no less)!

Having now killed the pythons, presumably Qantas will now be tasked with locating the animals' carcasses before the plane can be returned to service. I wonder how they propose to do that. By smell?

Susan Perkins said...

I once spent an inordinately long time explaining to the head of United Airlines in Tampa that the Anolis sagrei that I had were not going to escape on the plane. When he finally relented and let me get on with them, he said, "Because you know if they got out, they'd chew through the wires!"

Glor said...

How would you like to be the next passengers on that plane? Full of toxic fumigant residues and the corpses of three dead snakes.

Susan Perkins said...

I'll take three dead snakes over a corpulent, overly-chatty person eating a messy sandwich next to me any day.

Matt Brandley said...

There is still a carcass of a rosy boa sitting somewhere in the chassis of my old car. I'm sure Dan remembers the smell

Dan Warren said...

Oh good god yes, that was HORRIBLE.

Glor said...

Never thought this post would generated the funniest shit I've read in a long time. Thanks for sharing Matt and Dan.

frabotta said...

A few years back, we had a Sinaloan milksnake escape on the top (fourth) floor of our building at Queens College (NY) in November and after no sightings, we figured it probably didn't make it through the winter. In the following May or June, one of the housekeeping staff found it in a toilet basin in the basement! We are not quite sure what she did exactly when she saw it, but by the time we were notified and got downstairs, it was gone (again).

Anonymous said...

N.B. There's no 'U' in QANTAS.