An Insincere But Court Ordered Apology

Posted: August 25, 2013 in Reptile

Here at Horrific Animals of the World, we don’t like getting things wrong.

In fact, to be more accurate, we don’t like being told we got things wrong, and our response is usually less ‘apologise, rectify the error and make sure it never happens again’ than ‘organise a poorly orchestrated smear campaign against our critics’. However, in some cases, we are forced to apologise; partially because it is evident we got it wrong and no sensible, clear minded person could deny we need to publicly show our repentance, but more so because otherwise it could well be that severe legal, financial and other penalties may be brought against us.

So, to the pupils, teachers and governors of St Saddam’s School we offer the following apology.

Firstly, I apologise for accepting your invitation to speak at your ‘animals of the world’ assembly.

In fairness, we feel that this is less a case of ‘we were wrong’ than ‘we were both in the wrong’, but judging by how that excuse went down with the Judge, we won’t go futher into that. All we will say is that fact that you thought bringing someone in from some barely read blog to talk about animals shows either a terrible lack of judgement, or that Micheal Gove’s reforms to the education system are far, far more damaging than previously suspected. Without wanting to appear as if we want to shift the blame, we really feel that this whole affair is wholly his fault.

Secondly, I apologise for thinking that a deadly venomous snake was a suitable exhibit for the assembly.

In retrospect, we would have to conclude that perhaps exhibiting the Common Krait (Bangarus caeruleus) at a children’s event was a poor decision. This snake, whilst looking undeniably cool with its black and white striped body, and 1.75 metres of length, is also incredibly venemous, and is known as one of the ‘Big Four’ in South Asia, as it responsible for so many bites there. In 2011, 2000 official deaths were reported from snakebites generally (although another report indicated the true figure was nearer 50,000 ( )), and krait bites accounted for 11% of snakebites in Sri Lanka (Ariaratnam et al 2008). So yes, in retrospect it was a poor choice.


There is literally no way this can go wrong. (Imagecredit: Wikimedia Commons)

Thirdly, we apologise for getting confused over who actually owned the Krait.

Again, there was some confusion over this; as it turns out you can’t just ‘borrow’ a snake from the Zoo whenever you feel like it. However, we would like to add that zoo officials and armed police storming into the hall just as the snake was being handled by children hardly helped matters.

Fourthly, we apologise for letting the children handle the snake.

Seeing as the snake really is quite venomous, we accept this was irresponsible.1mg of the toxin will kill around seventy mice ( ). . Given that the average bite will inject between 8-20mg of toxin ( ), and that generally the bite is pretty much painless and has an 80% mortality rate if left untreated ( ) this may not have been the most sensible course of action. If the snake handling had been performed by anyone other than our level headed and not easily panicked interns, there could have been a catastrophe.

We’ll add ‘incredibly poisonous snakes’ to our list of things not to let children near. Its Health and Safety gone mad, really. (Imagecredit: Wikimedia Commons)


We apologise for immediately panicking

When the police burst through the door, a number of our employees thought that they were wanted on a number of charges, not all relating to snakenapping. In the ensuring confusion, we also apologise that the snake was dropped. However, I believe that I do deserve some credit for quick thinking for immediately turning off the lights in the hope that the snake would be afraid of the dark.

I apologise for not remembering that Kraits are both nocturnal and far more bite-y in the dark.

Yes, this really does speak for itself. I furthermore admit that switching off the lights when a venomous snake was escaping through a sea of screaming children, shouting and trigger happy police and weeping teachers probably added to rather than detracted from the confusion. However, in fairness I must say many of the pupils acted like five year olds, although this criticism obviously does not apply to the five year olds.

I apologise for continuing my talk.

I had hoped that pretending that nothing was wrong might calm the children. However, telling them that Kraits tend to live near humans, that most of their bites occur as their victims are sleeping, that their babies cannibalise each other and that the toxin is a mixture of powerful neurotoxins that cause painful abdominal cramps and respiratory paralysis; meaning that artificial ventilation for several hours or even days, is needed to keep the victim breathing as their bodies metabolise the poison, did not help. (We also apologise for the length of that sentence. Ed.). But I had made a vow to teach those children about animals, and I would not abandon them or their education!

I apologise for escaping through a window and abandoning the children.

In fairness, the police were closing in on me, and I thought that an explanation would be best provided after everyone had calmed down, and stopped screaming about ‘sueing’ this, ‘liability’ that and ‘dangerously stupid’ the other.

I apologise for not helping you capture the snake

Somehow, I never really got round to retrieving the snake, so as far as I know it is still in your school. They prefer areas close to water, preferably with a ready supply of mice, rats, toads, frogs and other small animals to eat. In South Asia, they are commonly found in house roofs and rubbish heaps. In your school I would suggest being careful around the storage cupboard and the staffroom; at least until the snake is found.

Unless it laid eggs of course.

  1. Hazel Waring says:

    I love this style!

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