THEME SONG: “Home Again” by Micheal Kiwanuka
We watched the elephants for over two hours. At the pivotal moment of river crossing, the video shows obvious communication: audible rumbling, vibrational signaling, and the matriarchal trumpet and crocodile warning that makes the group fall back. Eventually, there is a final ceremonious crossing with the eley calves at the protective center. Wildlife herd behavior is an excellent display of coherence, in which subtle individual cues lead to a group behavioral dynamic that benefits all. The harmony in which they cross is beautiful to experience.
This type of “physiological synchronization” in evolutionary anthropology is a key factor for human health and survival as well. We are constantly communicating with one another in subdued ways through facial expressions, body language, even biochemically. Social coherence, especially when individuals are emotionally in tune with one another, drives the cooperative actions of the group. When positively engaged it produces a symphonious relationship.
According to Ayurveda, physiological coherence happens when we give our body the tools it needs to thrive. This means connecting to our pulse and circadian rhythm, the rhythm of nature.
Theme song: Listen to Radiohead’s haunting & beautiful acoustic Bulletproof.
With just a week to go in the Python Challenge there are over 1,000 people registered to hunt the invasive Burmese python. Wildlife biologists estimate tens of thousands of pythons exist in south Florida, wreaking havoc on the small mammal population. Only 41 have been [legitimately] caught and killed since the contest began.*
It is a controversial communications campaign with a cocktail of media machismo, legitimate invasive species education & citizen science, and potential visible instruction on how to harass an innocent animal.
So I went down to Big Cypress and found something more rare. A native, beautiful Eastern Diamondback rattlesnake. It was just trying to cross the road. Watch as it progressively coils up and hides its head to protect itself from our cameras:
So here’s the deal. Burmese pythons are eating machines. They will not eat a rattlesnake (like a Kingsnake) but they will compete with it. They’re wiping out small native mammals like rabbits, oppossums, raccoons, etc. These are the same prey items that rattlesnakes eat- both snakes use thermoreceptors (heat-seeking pits) to find their lunch. The whole ecosystem has been affected- and it’s not just the pythons. Florida has more nonnative reptile and amphibian species than anywhere else in the world.
What you can do:
- Don’t get exotic animals as pets.
- Whatever reptile/amphibian you choose, make sure it’s captive-bred & don’t let it go.
- Download the app to report invasive species in Florida.
*Fun Fact: Snakes have over 200 vertebrae (we, like giraffes, have only 7 neck vertebrae). You can’t easily break their neck. They are ectothermic (cold blooded) which essentially means that their blood pressure is so low that they don’t quickly bleed to death. Basically, it’s hard as hell to kill a snake. It’s gruesome. Don’t try it.