Animal news: My last python.

At least, I think so.

Many years after my experience in the House of Reptiles at the Bronx Zoo, I was walking home on Bleecker Street when I spotted an odd configuration on the opposite sidewalk.

A group of people, perhaps eight or nine, stood on the sidewalk in such a way as to form a long ovoid. They were all standing quite still as they looked down at the sidewalk, exuding an aura of mystic contemplation.

Odd. Then I looked at what they were looking at: yes, a large snake about twelve feet in length, was lying fully stretched out on the sidewalk. What on earth?

Took me several moments before I realized the whole group was outside a corner store, Exotic Pets. Oh, ho! So somehow the snake had gotten out of its cage and wriggled onto the sidewalk. Given the snake’s current passivity, I figured she (why not?) was thinking, “What the hell did I do this for?” And, “Where am I going with this?”

Clearly, the group surrounding her was having a quiet conference on the question, “How TF do we get her back inside?”

I don’t know why I didn’t stick around to find out. I am now regretful.


(That is the closest I could come to a symbol which looked like a snake. Sort of.)

We are chock full of wildlife in New York. At the moment, the town is a-buzz over a four-foot-long alligator found in Prospect Park Lake.

She — lucky ‘gator — is being evaluated at…the Bronx Zoo’s House of Reptiles! My cousin, once a New Yorker but now a D.C.-er — sent me an upgrade on this lethargic girl (yeah, another lady reptile):

An American alligator rescued from Prospect Park Lake on Sunday had swallowed a four-inch-wide bathtub stopper and is not strong enough for it to be removed right now, the Bronx Zoo said in a statement on Wednesday evening.

The alligator, a female, is “too weak and unresponsive to eat on its own” and is being tube-fed, according to the statement from the zoo, which has been caring for the animal since its rescue from the park.

The alligator is about 5 years old and is being treated with fluids, vitamin B, antibiotics and an antifungal medication, the zoo said. An X-ray taken during a medical evaluation revealed the bath stopper.

So now we realize her, uh, owner must have kept her in a bathtub. Many questions and images emerge from this story.

(Meanwhile, a news item from Florida: an 85 year old woman, walking her dog, was attacked and killed by an alligator, once again bringing me to ask: Why does anyone live in Florida?)

And then there’s Flaco, an eagle-owl, another escapee and a most successful one. Now that Flaco has alleviated the Central Park Zoo’s worries by showing he is able to live free and not die, we’re all delighted. He’s been exploring his territory and caught a rat, demonstrating his predator instincts and creds as a native.

Isn’t this what we New Yorkers all aspire to, flying around Central Park and catching rats?

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