This morning’s been interesting…
I got to my workspace and found a poster, my design colleague had placed on my keyboard. It read: ‘Work hard and be nice to people, except children – they whine too much. Not sure why she chose to give me that on her last day at work but it’s a great reminder of her!
On to more random things… I stumbled on an article in Scientific American that was quite disturbing. Author, Katherine Harmon wrote that scientists may have found an origin of an ‘Ebola-like virus that has snakes tied up in knots’. The symptoms exhibited by infected snakes include, looking like they were drunk or ‘stargazing’—staring up into space or tying themselves in a knot.
Using RDNA microarray scanning, researchers found a type of virus relative to viruses that cause Ebola and hemorrhagic fever in humans. Katherine further mentioned that the disease is contagious to some snake types, causing protein buildup, bacterial infections and body wasting. Outbreaks of this have been noted in the California Academy of Sciences’ Steinhart Aquarium and by a pet owner.
Interestingly, both outbreak places were captive environments, which she did not spell out. I was beginning to suspect a link to the contracting of this muscle-wasting disease with being kept in captivity. Of course, I have no scientific proof. But one does wonder…
This was not suggested throughout the article and nothing in the direction of further research appeared to suggest they will explore that possibility. And that is hugely disappointing. I guess if they did and found the link to be a strong one, let alone true, it would raise quite a stink for zoos and private collectors.
It seems that the researchers who discovered two strains of the disease in sick snakes (and who quickly had their findings published in an online journal), were more excited that the prospect of discovery might give them insight into the evolution of viruses, than about investigating the causative agent of this disease in the snake’s immediate environment or why the snake’s immune response is unable to eliminate the infecting virus.
What do you think about animals in captivity?
Science Centre Singapore plans to feature a snake exhibition during Chinese New Year in 2013! Watch out for it then!