Life Was Hard, Then the Snakes Came

blog-snakesFew things make tough times worse than plagues of snakes: Iraqis in the country’s agricultural south have been tormented by drought, war, UN sanctions and lack of investment, and now dams upriver in Turkey and Syria have dried up the Tigris and Euphrates, worsening farming conditions and driving scores of snakes into villages where they attack people and buffalo; enemies of the Israeli military have a new weapon to fear — it recently unveiled a robotic snake with a camera and microphone installed in its head that is being developed for combat missions; police in a Sierra Leone town have yet another worry besides patrolling the war-torn country, as up to 400 snakes, mostly cobras and vipers, occupy their headquarters; in India, however, members of the nomadic Vadi tribe continue their tradition of training children as young as four to become snake charmers (see pictures), even though the practice is officially banned in that country.