Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Is That a Snake or Are You Happy to See Me?

I understand why people smuggle drugs. It's because there's enough money to be made that the rewards outweigh the risks. I mean, that's the kind of sense that it makes to the people who actually smuggle drugs. To me, the very real possibility of going to prison for eons does outweigh the rewards. That's the number one reason that I'm not a drug mule. (Well, that and the fact that I prefer to think of my sphincter as 'exit only'.) But while I understand the drug smuggling trade, I do not understand the creature smuggling trade.

And there are some pretty strict laws in place against smuggling animals of many sorts into a variety of countries. I don't think I'd be exaggerating if I surmised that the United States probably is more vigilant against people smuggling exotic animals into this country than they are against people smuggling other people into this country. (Oh! What am I saying?! Silly me, this country barely enforces the borders that it has! There's no need to smuggle! Just wander on over! Come on! Hola!)

I don't know how I would smuggle animals if I were to go into that line of work. I'd want to smuggle something cute, though. Like kittens or bunnies or puppies. Especially if I had to smuggle the creatures on my person. The cuter, the better if I'm doing that. I would absolutely NOT smuggle live royal pythons taped to my chest which, of course, means that I would also absolutely NOT smuggle live geckos taped to my legs. I especially wouldn't do this in Norway and if I did I surely wouldn't forget about the tarantula in my bag that would tip off the officials to my sinister scheme. I would NOT do any of that. But this guy would. Behold!

OH, what the hell is that? According to a section in the L.A. Times called L.A. Unleashed-all things animals in Southern California and beyond (doncha know?) THAT is a guy who was discovered "...during a routine customs check of passengers who had just arrived via ferry into Kristiansand." (By the way, Kristiansand is apparently in Norway. He was travelling from Denmark, if that's of any assistance to you.) Yeah, see, in each one of those little socks is a baby royal python and there's fourteen of the suckers! Behold!

Good Lord, I think I'm gonna be sick. Fourteen snakes. But wait! There's more! Behold!

::: whimper ::: What the hell is that, you ask? THAT would be ten, yes ten, ten cans of baby geckos! Bwah-ah-ahhhhh! (I feel like the Count from Sesame Street.) And, why yes, they are taped to his legs! What is wrong with people?! I don't know either, but here are the geckos. ::: sigh ::: Behold.

Well, according to The Sun, the guy claimed that "...he was a collector and had bought the creatures legally in Denmark." Um, I've known a lot of people that "collect" a lot of things, but that doesn't make it necessarily legal or anything. The ones that do "collect" things and are doing so legally certainly don't feel the need to tape them to any spare space that they may have and may not be using upon their body! Ever think you'll see a stamp collector do that? How about weird, still lives at home in the basement, baseball card collector guy? (Granted, he'll do weird stuff, but none of it will involve taping his baseball cards to his body. Yet.) By the way, just to give you some sort of an idea as to how many geckos this actually is (other than the number 12 I've already provided you), I've taken the liberty to Photoshop twelve geckos onto this man's legs. It's disgusting. Behold!

But I guess it doesn't matter if he bought them legally or what kind of a "collector" he is, importing reptiles into Norway (ie, taping them to your body and hoppin' on a ferry) is against the law. And while all of this is weird, here's the part that I really don't get. You wouldn't think I'd have to ask you to guess how they figured this out, would you? Seems pretty obvious how they figured it out, doesn't it? Well, it didn't quite happen that way.

No, see, they found a tarantula in his bag and that's when they decided that they'd give him a little full body search as well. Wait. What?

Correct. They found a tarantula in his bag. THAT is what tipped them off. The tarantula. In his bag. What in the world was this man wearing? The world's biggest parka? How can you not know that there are fourteen snakes and twelve geckos taped to someone's body? Are they not moving around? And look at that picture. It's not like they don't stick out a fair amount! You're telling me that if it weren't for that spider crawling around in his bag that he would have made it through customs with the reptile cage of the zoo strapped to himself? Are we supposed to be happy about that? I don't think I am. I just don't think I am.

So let's put all of this together, shall we? We've got the guy with the geckos and the pythons who gets caught smuggling all of these creatures on his person because of the inexplicable ONE tarantula in his bag. We've seen what the geckos all look like if they were just taped onto him instead of stuffed into what appear to be Skoal tins. Now let's see how many snakes that looks like, courtesy of yours truly here and Photoshop. Behold!

And they couldn't have figured this out without the tarantula in the bag?! I find that hard to believe. You're telling me they couldn't find THIS:

But THIS they caught onto right away:
OK, then. Good luck with that, Norway. Gooooooood luck with that.

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