Chicagoland must have its gang violence and corruption under control since their local NBC affiliate was able to lead with a story about a “water moccasin” on Wednesday night.
Can you say media sensationalism?
The original video for the story is below but before you go there, let me immunize you against everything wrong with it.
A water moccasin is venomous, but not “highly venomous.” There have been very few cases of death from cottonmouths. Bites typically result in a swollen appendage and run the risk of septic shock in that extremity. Sure, no one wants to go through all that, but they’re not highly venomous.
Even the station has its story mixed up. In the video they claim a roofer took a picture of the snake and sent it to a local wildlife control company for identification.
In reality, according to “The Patch,” the roofer found a picture online of a snake that looked like the one he saw, then sent it to the wildlife control business. I grew up around Chicago and can tell you that almost any non-outdoorsperson who saw a snake near water immediately identified the reptile as a cottonmouth.
Chances are it was a non-venomous northern water snake (pictured below)…and nowhere near six feet long.
If one of these snakes causes Chicagoland to go on red alert, what is to become of the residents of southern Illinois and the entirety of our southern states that live with these snakes on a regular basis?
I’ll bet there are at least five water moccasins from Carbondale, Illinois to Tallahassee, Florida. At least! Think of the daily terror these people must live in.
At 55 seconds into the clip, check out the wildlife expert rooting around a sidewalk shrub with his hands. I’ll give the guy credit that he was probably hamming it up for the camera.
If he really believed there was a six-foot water moccasin lurking around, he’d be using a snake hook. Also, kudos for the speculative “it-hitched-a-ride” explanation for how it got there.
How about waiting to see what kind of snake it is before you create an origin story?
Finally, the question posed by the very serious reporter to the mom with the child in her arms:
“How concerned are you right now?”
That’s hard-hitting journalism.
The news lives and dies by viewership and I recognize that, but this is over the top.
The only way they could get more air as they jump this shark is to make this story an event and give it a name like, “Venom Death Serpent In Suburbia: Day __.”