Hippo-sized risk


You know, I have to say it yet again for those who keep forgetting: Nature is NOT to be trusted.

Seemingly every day, one of you goes out to commune with nature. Or cavort with it. Or whatever it is people who are trying to die do. All the while, you remain oblivious to the fact that all those cute (and not so cute) fuzzy, scaled and winged creatures PROBABLY WANT TO KILL YOU.

We live on a planet where, every so often, a mountain explodes. And we’re just supposed to be okay with that. Mountains are clearly unpredictable. See also: avalanches, tidal waves, etc. Basically, natural disasters are going to disaster. The least we can do is try to avoid adding animal attacks to our risk assessment.


For the record, we Ohioans cannot legally keep these seven animals as pets: Lions, tigers, bears, (oh my!) elephants, alligators, monkeys or servals (whatever those are).

The actual rules read as follows: “The state of Ohio considers hippopotami, Komodo dragons and howler monkeys, among other animals, dangerous. Snakes that are 12 feet or longer are also prohibited.”

I would argue that even snakes that are no longer than a shoelace scare the peanuts out of me, but I’m also a sissy. I once fled screaming and splashing from my own bathing suit tie when it floated near me in the water.

Not clear

I decided to do a little research to set my mind at ease. According to nearly every alligator expert in the world, and based on the environment of the Midwest, there should not be any alligators in Ohio. Unfortunately, no one told them. Ohio has lakes, rivers and not a lot of swamps. It is not the kind of place you would expect to find a creature who cannot adjust to the cold very well. I can relate.

Obviously, the state was not clear in regard to what one who found themselves in illegal possession of an alligator should do with it. I am pretty sure “dump it in a nearby lake or river” was NOT the solution the state had in mind.

Three alligators have been found over the past few years in the city limits of Akron, Ohio, alone. You must have an exotic pet license to own an alligator in Ohio, and at last count, approximately 20 people are licensed to own alligators in the Cleveland area. This just goes to show you can have a very nice city and people are still going to make choices that mean WE CANNOT HAVE NICE THINGS.

Two alligators were discovered to be living in a Dayton, Ohio, area river. Two alligators. Let that sink in. Also, let alligators sink in. You should be able to believe in your deepest heart that Ohio winters are a fair tradeoff for NEVER HAVING A CARE IN THE WORLD THAT YOU MIGHT MEET AN ALLIGATOR IN OHIO WATERS. I enjoy boating and swimming in Ohio waters and I did not sign up for this level of risk.


Wildlife officials were unable to capture the alligators. Yes, you read that right. They EVADED CAPTURE. This makes them smarter than most human criminals. This fact does absolutely nothing to alleviate my concerns. It has since been reported that one alligator was killed by law enforcement officers. So now we are down to “just” one lonely alligator — or so we hope.

Recent statistics found on the internet, which as you know is never wrong, include the following:

Sharks kill five people annually.

Horses kill 20 people annually.

Cows kill 22 people annually.

Ants kill 30 people annually.

Jellyfish kill 40 people annually.

Deer kill approximately 130 people annually.

Hippos kill 2,900 people annually. (Seriously?)

One thing is clear from my research: If you simply must have an unusual pet, sharks are clearly the best choice.


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