By Eve George
Snakes are fascinating animals. Their elongated, legless, and scaled bodies are well-adapted for the animal’s lifestyle. Snakes slither over or under the ground, swim in the ocean or fresh water, climb trees, or glide through the air, depending on the species. All snakes have the same basic body structure and functions, but some have specialized features that are often strange or surprising.
While human / snake accidents are inevitable, economic displacement, habitat reshaping and climate change has increased and level of interactions and thus the incidence of snakebites has also increased.
A human touch became a bad touch in the case of Mustard the yellow Burmese Python and its zookeeper Bonyun. It may be a cliché, but it’s true: Usually a snake is more scared of you than you are of it. Mustard has been a local and television celebrity appearing on many local television shows interacting with thousands of people and children at the local zoo in Trinidad and Tobago for many years.
Mustard’s interaction with children, adults and other animals has changed the concept of fear most people had towards snakes over the years in Trinidad and Tobago. But a few weeks ago, things changed when Mustard bit its zookeeper Bonyun, when he brought a carcass of a rabbit for Mustard.
Instead of biting the rabbit Mustard bit Bonyun in the stomach.
Mustard biting Bonyun
Many locals after seeing the attack which was caught on camera and uploaded to social media took in defense of Mustard. Most people said that “animals belong in the free world and not in cages”. One people who felt empathy for Mustard was Myron B a local Kaiso/ Extempo celebrity. Myron created an Extempo song in defense of Mustard the snake which went viral and everyone loved it. In the song Mustard was heard saying the reason he bit the zookeeper was because he ordered a two-piece chicken special from KFC and he never got it, instead he received a dead rabbit.
In the video Myron also sang about other issues happening in Trinidad and Tobago, where a man claimed his car was going over 200 miles per hour and couldn’t stop on the highway. No proper reason was given to the police as to why the man was driving at that speed. Many suspected that the man intentionally crashed the car because he owed the bank six months on the car and couldn’t pay, so he created a story.
Myron B singing the Extempo
Extempo is a lyrically improvised form of calypso and is most notably practiced in Trinidad and Tobago. It consists of a performer improvising in song or in rhythmic speech on a given theme before an audience who themselves take turns to perform.
It is inherently competitive, and success is judged by the wit and ingenuity of the performance. Extempo tends to comprise topics from current events treated with mockery, ridicule and sarcasm, or with flattery or praise.
Snakes are sometimes perceived as evil, but they are also perceived as medicine. If you look at an ambulance, there are two snakes on the side of the ambulance. The caduceus or the staff of Hermes, there’s two snakes going up the staff – which means that the venom can also bring healing.
Eve George is a US journalist. She is also a business operator and recently launched Evey’s traditional gourmet line.