When Pets Strike Back

by Curt Kovener 

There was a woman in Kokomo, Indiana who was treated at the Howard County Hospital for an animal bite…an alligator bite.

It should go without saying that unlike places like Florida or Louisiana, alligator bites in Indiana are pretty rare.

This lady had a pet alligator and was reaching in its cage to feed it when the gator grabbed for the food that was still in the woman’s hand.

I have had a similar experience with Charley when I hand him a dog treat or the last bite of my sandwich. All he sees in food and forgets it is attached to my hand.

I, on the other hand, do not, cannot, will not forget.

But such as it is when we keep pets, especially non-domesticated pets such as alligators.

I recall reading a news story of a man who kept a boa constrictor. He thought it was quite tame and allowed it to roam freely in his home. He thought it was cute when the snake would cozy up to his sleeping daughter and lay right along side her as she napped.

He thought it was cute, that is, until a herpetologist informed him that the snake was measuring the young toddler for its next meal.

I recall my youngest brother, Whitney, who was quite outdoorsy and adventuresome in his youth (I suppose he still is), once brought home an Eastern Box Turtle he found in the woods. He thought he would keep it as a pet.

The turtles are harmless, or so our mother thought, so the new acquisition was permitted.

But young brother grew tired of the turtle drawing in and closing its front shell whenever Whitney wanted it to come out to play.

When the front shell flap was open just a bit, inquisitive brother stuck a finger in to force it open so he could play with the land turtle.

But turtle showed brother he did not want to play and clamped down on brother’s finger…HARD.

It was a rather humorous sight to see Whitney running to the house howling in pain with a turtle attached to his finger.

A slight twist of a screwdriver opened the turtle shell enough to extract an only slightly bruised index finger.

That was the end of the pet turtle residing at the Kovener house. He was set free and last seen heading back for the woods from whence he came.

I suppose about the safest pet to have would be a Pet Rock—popular in the 1970’s. But I would suggest that if you take your pet Rock for a walk, put it in your pocket, not your shoe lest even the Pet Rock inflict injury.