Sunday, September 20, 2009

Beaversharks and Rope Serpents

riverI must warn strangers to the Southern Appalachians about some of the native wildlife here. Many of you know to beware of bears and angry groundhogs, but there are other dangers not as well known.

Beaversharks, for instance, inhabit the mountain lakes and the larger rivers. They resemble small sharks, with very sharp teeth and powerful jaws, but possess large, flat tails. They only hunt at night, in packs, lying in wait in quiet pools of water for unsuspecting skinny-dippers. The would-be swimmers hear the loud slap of the beavershark tails and assume that a harmless beaver dam is nearby. They are mistaken, however. Those who jump into water inhabited by a pack of ravenous beaversharks will leave little for their relatives to bury.

Far more insidious is the rope serpent. The rope serpent, as its name implies, resembles a plain piece of rope. It is most often found lying near a body of deep water. When an unsuspecting hiker tries to pick up the “rope”, the rope snake wraps itself around the hiker and pulls him into the water. The hiker drowns and then the serpent, like a python, eats him whole.

The best way to protect yourself from beaversharks is to avoid skinnydipping at night. The next best thing to do is to toss a few cans of pork and beans into the water before you go swimming. If the cans disappear, you know that beaversharks are nearby. If you toss enough pork and beans into the water, the beaversharks will eventually develop gas and float to the surface, where you can pick them off with a rifle.

Do this from a distance, though, and only if the moon is full. I knew a man who tried this method but used a shotgun while hunting by torchlight from his rowboat. He got within ten feet of a large pack of beaversharks and began shooting. The creatures he hit sprang leaks and were propelled upward by the escaping gas. They reached their zenith at about 30 feet up and started falling back -- into the boat. The remaining gas ignited as the fish successively fell past the torches. Folks on shore said it reminded them of Gettysburg. The hunter survived, but will not admit to any error in judgement and blames his missing ear on General Sherman.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Mrs. Doc reminds any children preparing reports for school that Doc gets all his facts from The Barnum Book of Natural History & Electrical Engineering.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

No comments: