Strike whilst you can still afford the Iron

With all that’s going on, I’ve been thinking. Those of you who know me might feel that I’m exaggerating, but no, really, I’ve been thinking. We’re entering what is euphemistically known as the ‘Strike Season’ in our country, a time when, on a rotational basis and depending on which ‘T’ shirt they’re wearing, a few thousand people will hold 50 million countrymen to ransom and create massive harm to the nation’s economy. I was thinking; what if nature had a similar outlook on life? What if the bees had a thing up their noses about the dangers of crossing all these new freeways, and said “let’s close wings – no more pollinating until we get assisted passage over all roadways”? The last time I hit a swarm of bees I must have killed about 20,000 workers so I’m not surprised they’d want to stop flying – but the net result would be devastating for every farmer in the country – something akin to the inevitable effect of the current land-reform proposal. What if all the deciduous plants voted not to shed their leaves because the evergreens wouldn’t join in? We’d have a devastating loss of natural fertilisation, no sun in areas that needed winter sun, crop failures everywhere and perhaps gangs of leafy trees roaming the veld, shouting slogans, turning over anthills and blocking rivers.

This might sound farfetched, but what if snakes joined the party? As they’re natural predators and as a consequence, part of a team of balancing agents in the scheme of things, if snakes downed tools, we’d be in big trouble. Imagine if the Workers Union of Night Adders and Spitters (WUNAAS) decided to stop eating frogs? A female guttural toad – a control agent in her own right – could conservatively bring about 40,000 newborns into the world annually. Multiply this figure by the thousands of other females swimming in the pond and extrapolate over 5 years. With WUNAAS out on strike, the other predators would battle to cope with the exponential growth in numbers, and very shortly, we’d find it impossible to get out of our driveways, let alone walk anywhere.

Consider this: a female rat can produce at least 50 young per annum; now multiply that by a lot of other female rats. The resultant hordes could put us all out of business, as the rats consumed our crops and ate anything that tasted interesting – food, computer and motor vehicle wiring etc. – whilst spreading disease at the same time; unless of course, they were kept honest by the members of the Federation of Rodent Eaters and Associated Snakes (FOREAAS). This mighty sound trite and somewhat fanciful, but I think that flora and fauna somehow understand the mutual benefit that can be derived from having respect for each individual’s contribution to a collective wellbeing. It seems such a pity that man doesn’t think the same.

© pat mckrill. 2014
herpet@eastcoast.co.za
Cell: 0833036958
Home: 031-7851410

Snake column SEc  Gen of FOREAAS ed142 jul14

Snake column Striking puffie ed142 jul14 (2)