Man fined $65 for letting pet python crawl around Holiday Inn hallway

A 25 year old man from Mason City, IA has been fined $65 for letting his pet snake crawl uncontrolled through the hallways of the local Holiday Inn.

The man was a guest at the hotel, and apparently felt that his 5 year old pet python needed some exercise. What convinced him to let the snake loose in the hallway is a mystery, but the hotel manager says the man was apologetic about the incident.

Now, I’m not a pet owner myself, but I do understand people who love their pets a lot – but to let a python loose in a hotel hallway just boggles the mind.

The Holiday Inn manager did remind guests that the chain is pet friendly, but that their hospitality ends with cats and dogs. So, next time you take a trip, you may want to find a pet-sitter for your python.

Wild animal travel: Where the hunter becomes the hunted

There’s nothing quite like seeing a wild animal in its natural habitat. It’s why people go on safari in South Africa to see lions and elephants, trek through the jungles of Borneo in search of monkeys, and submerge themselves in steel cages off the coast of Baja California to swim with Great White sharks. But it’s important to remember that despite the precautions taken by tour guides and rangers, these are still wild animals and getting close to them in nature carries some risks. In other words: there’s a reason that safari guide carries a gun.

Forbes Traveler has put together a list of “10 Places Where Animals Eat You”, a collection of destinations where the danger of visiting wild animals in nature is greater. Among the spots that made the list are Khao Sok National Park in Thailand, where cobras kill several hundred people per year; South Luangwa National Park in Zambia, where aggressive hippos have been known to flip boats and even eat people; and Ranthambhore Bagh, India, where around 100 people are attacked by tigers each year.

The article goes on to detail other encounters with wild animals, like when the girlfriend of a Tanzanian guide had her sleeping bag dragged 30 yards by a lion, while she was sound asleep in it. It seems animal attacks can happen almost anywhere though, and the danger certainly won’t stop most people from visiting these areas to see wild animals up close. You may just want to think twice about wandering too far away from your guide.

Fun in Fairfax: 17 exotic snakes found in hotel room

I hesitate to make snakes on a plane jokes because they’re bad and overused, but in this case I’m going to have to do it once again. What just might be worse than snakes on a plane? Snakes in your hotel room. Fairfax City police said that they found a total of 17 exotic snakes in the room of the Hy-Way Motel last night near Fairfax Circle, VA. 12 of those snakes happened to be poisonous.

The hotel management was alerted to the snake issue because of the report of a foul odor coming from said room; two of the snakes had died which led to the smell. The snakes are believed to belong to an Arlington County man who kept as many as 100 exotic snakes in his home until recently. I think the important question here is: why did the snakes need a getaway at a cheap roadside hotel?

This gives us just another reason as to why it’s important to fully investigate your hotel room (which can harbor some nasty things) before committing to stay in it for the night.

Think that’s weird? What strange things have been found on planes?


Click the image to read the bizarre story…

No Wrong Turns: Snakes and Spiders and Scorpions…Oh My!

Traveling allows us to experience many new things: unique cultures, languages, food and wildlife. I am always up to experience it all but it’s the creepy crawlies that fall under the “wildlife” category that I’d prefer not to encounter–no matter how hard I try to avoid bugs they somehow always know where to find me.

The other night, just before I was about to hop into bed, I happened to notice something move on the floor below the bathroom sink. My first instinct was SPIDER! and I quickly told Tom, my resident bug catcher, that he might have some work to do. On closer inspection I realized that it wasn’t a spider it was instead a rather cranky looking SCORPION! Needless to say that got the bug-catcher moving. We (he) caught it, let it go outside and then each of us performed a fantastic bug dance.

You won’t just find beaches in Baja Mexico but an arid desert as well. And this desert is home to a few creatures we’d all like to avoid. Here are a few critters to watch out for in Baja California Sur, how to minimize any encounters and what to do if things get “a little too close for comfort.”

Snakes


Prevention

The chances of finding a snake in your room or casita are pretty rare but it isn’t unheard of to see one if you are out hiking in the desert hills. Wearing solid hiking boots and heavy socks is a great way to prevent your ankles from getting bitten. Another tip is to make noise when you walking to alert the snakes of your presence and to give them time to move away.

Two local snakes you may run into are the rattlesnake and the “Mudo” snake, another type of rattlesnake. “Mudo” mean mute in Spanish and refers to this serpent’s lack of rattlers and therefore the lack of warning you receive before you get too close.

If you are bitten
Should you end up getting bitten, get yourself to the nearest medical facility to find anti-venom as soon as possible. Try to stay calm and do your best to remember (if you can) what the snake looked like so you can describe it to your doctor. Tourniquets are no longer recommended as they might actually speed up the movement of the venom.

Spiders


Prevention
Truth be told, though I still cannot fathom this, the big hairy spiders are more scared of you than you are of them. That being said there are some big spiders here and if you’ve ever seen one skitter across the floor at night (or the ceiling!) you might be less inclined to believe this too. Spiders tend to hide in dark, small crevices. Folded clothes, shoes, boxes, and cupboard corners seem to fit the bill as cozy spider homes. The ones you really want to watch out for are the smaller spiders: the black widow and the brown recluse spider pack enough poison to cause serious harm.

If you are bitten
Relax not all spider bites, even those from the terrifying tarantula, are not necessarily dangerous. This does depend on the individual as some people experience stronger reactions than others. Apparently, 99% of venomous spiders don’t have fangs strong enough to penetrate human skin (though I’ve heard this time and time again spiders still freak me out). Those experiencing a serious reaction or those who are unsure what type of spider bit them need to take their bitten selves to the nearest hospital to receive treatment immediately.

Scorpions


Prevention
These little night loving creatures tend to keep to themselves but if they do venture onto your turf they are usually found in shoes or other dark places. Make sure to shake out your shoes and take a good look around dark areas before blindly sticking your hand in. There is a very dangerous scorpion called the “Durango scorpion” in Mexico it is not found in the Baja. The scorpions here are smaller, translucent and deliver a sting more like a bee sting. If you find one in your room you can try to catch it under a glass (they are feisty, so be very careful) or it can easily be squished by a hard-soled (or hard-souled?) shoe.

If you are stung
Unless you are sure about what type of scorpion stung you, it is best to get to the nearest hospital. The locals swear by using antiseptic made from rubbing alcohol filled with previously caught scorpions. Me….I’d rather go to the hospital.

Tom and I have been fairly lucky as we have only really encountered one scorpion but that one was enough to make me start shaking out all my clothes before I put them on as well as to wear sandals around the casita rather than bare feet. Chances are you probably won’t run into too many of these creatures as they prefer to stay away from humans but, if you do receive a bite the general consensus is to get to a doctor right away.


“No Wrong Turns”
chronicles Kelsey and her husband’s road trip — in real time — from Canada to the southern tip of South America in their trusty red VW Golf named Marlin.

Actual Snakes on a Plane

It’s happened before, both in a movie and in real life, but somehow snakes keep squirming their way onto planes, this time on a Vietnam Airlines flight from Bangkok to Hanoi.

On Thursday, authorities at Hanoi’s Noi Boi Airport discovered thousands of non-venomous snakes that had been shipped as cargo in 60 boxes. According to the Associated Press, Trinh Ngoc Thanh, Vietnam Airline’s spokesman, said that the boxes had been declared as carrying live fish. Unfortunately for the snakes, who had been packed in ice water, many died en route. Those who had made it alive were transferred to the Wild Animal Rescue center in Hanoi.

This isn’t the first time that Vietnam has had a snake shipment problem. Last month authorities found 1,540 pounds of dead snakes on a Thai Airways flight from Bangkok. Besides raising questions about cargo inspection at the Bangkok airport, it also points at an important wildlife issue; Ptyas Mucosus, the scientific name for the snakes, are a protected species, thereby implying illegal trade.

In any event, for those of you traveling through Southeast Asia, it might be a good idea to keep Samuel L. Jackson’s number on hand. He did do an impressive job dealing with those on-board snakes in the movie