Monday, April 8, 2013

How not to solve bad animal problems

-How not to prevent nuclear meltdowns:
A couple weeks ago, we covered a situation at Fukushima nuclear complex in Japan, to recap: A little over two years ago, the plant was hit by an earthquake and tsunami that humans had not designed it to withstand. Then, a couple weeks after the two-year anniversary of the disaster, the cooling systems at the disabled power plant shut down, revealing that humans had not designed the power to the crucial safety system to withstand.... a rat.

Officials claimed that they would now be in a big hurry to replace that makeshift backup power system and that in the meantime, they would make sure it was rodent-proof. Great work, guys:  a few days ago, while installing netting to keep out rats, the workers accidentally shorted out the power, causing the spent fuel pool to go without cooling again for three hours.

-How not to discourage wildlife in your garden:
It's true that animals start fires all the time.  Along with the many cases we've covered before, some recent arsonist animals include two cases in England of a squirrel that started a fire in a garage and a lust-crazed tortoise that knocked over a heater, causing a blaze that killed himself and his partner.

But sometimes when you read a headline like this one:

Snake blamed for burning down home

you need to actually read the story:
Authorities believe a homeowner's response to finding a snake in her yard may have led to the fire that destroyed her house Wednesday.
"While cleaning up, she saw snake, threw gasoline on the snake, lit the snake on fire," said Deputy Randall Baggett with the Bowie County Sheriff's Office. "The snake went into the brush pile and the brush pile caught the home on fire."
Despite the efforts of several fire departments that responded to the scene, the flames completely engulfed the home. It is a complete loss. A neighboring home was also damaged on one side.
 I think we can all agree that in this case, the animal was not this person's worst enemy.

Lustful tortoises by Flickr user guano.

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