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Let’s speak about Komodo dragons. Large rideable lizards which can be just about the best animal on this planet, till you fall down they usually eat you. Mark Ingram, athletic director on the College of Alabama at Birmingham, just lately shared with AL.com that he discovered lots about Komodo dragons after suggesting having one on the sphere because the Blazers’ stay mascot.

Ingram mentioned he first pitched the concept to somebody from the Birmingham Zoo shortly after he arrived at UAB in 2015. Apart from being advised having a Komodo could be like having a stay alligator on the sphere, he says he was additionally warned that the animal might paralyze individuals just by spitting on them.

“Children getting spit on and paralyzed, and eaten, potentially, by the Komodo dragon. I thought it seemed like a great idea, but apparently it’s not as good of an idea as I once thought.”

Simply boil this sentence in a soup and serve it to my soul, as a result of it’s all the things I’ve ever needed on this life. I’m additionally in love with the truth that Ingram imagined a situation the place kids had been getting paralyzed and eaten by a rogue Komodo dragon and nonetheless characterised it as “not AS good of an idea.” The concept was nonetheless at the least partially good — baby endangerment be damned.

One thing about this didn’t really feel proper, although. I’d by no means heard of Komodo dragons spitting at individuals and paralyzing them, and although I’m no reptile knowledgeable, I discovered somebody who’s. John Maerz is a herpetologist on the College of Georgia. I needed to know if the concept of a spitting, paralysis-inducing Komodo was a risk.

“It’s complete nonsense,” Maerz says. “It’s complete and utter gibberish. I’ve heard some really stupid things, or some things that have been misperceived or misunderstood about the nature of animals, including Komodos — but that one takes the cake.”

Although there’s no animal in nature with the power to paralyze a human by merely spitting on them, that doesn’t imply making a Komodo dragon your mascot is a good suggestion. They’ve a really highly effective chew and saliva with venomous properties. As well as, the mouth of a Komodo is a bacteria-rich setting, which might result in secondary infections in the results of a chew. Komodos, like several wild animal, usually are not in a position to comprehend stimuli they’re not conversant in, resulting in an immense quantity of stress even when the animal is skilled.

“From a humane perspective, I think it’s wrong. When an animal is stressed out, beyond the impacts on its own well being, that’s when an animal can be prone to unpredictable behavior or defensive things.”

The massive false impression about predatory animals like Komodos is that they’re out to assault people. Maerz says in actuality they are going to solely chew people after they really feel threatened. Their pure setting is a small string of islands north of Indonesia the place they’re the highest of the meals chain. They’re not precisely accustomed to being threatened, resulting in extra issues in the event that they had been put in a stadium.

“You’re creating the perfect opportunity for something to go wrong,” Maerz says, “and it would be for a pretty nominal benefit.”

Maerz would quite see extra colleges use costumed mascots than stay animals. A graduate of the College of Maryland, Maerz appreciates that his alma mater embraced the humor of a terrapin being one thing scary with the “Fear the Turtle” marketing campaign whereas he was a scholar. He thinks the same strategy is much better for UAB than worrying about having a stay Komodo dragon on the sphere.

“Your mascot’s a dragon, which is this mythical creature,” he says. “I think you can be much more creative and have a lot more fun without something that requires you to do something like that.”

Contemplating Maerz works at a college with one of the crucial beloved stay mascots within the nation, he understands the attraction, even when he disagrees with it.

“I went to the University of Maryland, I’m also at the University of Georgia,” Maerz says. “Athletics is a big-time game here. I’m a fan. I enjoy it. But we are also universities. We are places that are supposed to be teaching people to make decisions based what our knowledge tells us is right and ethical.”

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