The Darwin Awards

1999 Darwin Awards

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Honoring Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, Darwin Awards commemorate those who improve our gene pool--by removing themselves from it.

Snake Charmer?
1999 Darwin Award Winner Unconfirmed by Darwin

(May 1999, Thailand) A man known for his snake catching and charming skills was called to a neighbor's home. They needed an emergency exorcism of a python, which had invaded their dwelling. Hie, 55, rushed into the house in the northern provoke of Uttaradit, and emerged victorious with the snake held aloft in a burlap sack.

He was walking home with the snake, when villagers ran into him and asked to see the python. He pulled the snake from the sack and boldly wrapped it around his neck. The wild python, a five-foot-long coil of solid muscle, constricted around him and began to strangle him.

He screamed for help vainly, for the petrified villagers were afraid to approach the serpent. Within minutes, Hie fell to the ground dead. Local policemen forcibly unwrapped the snake from his neck and placed it in captivity.

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Submitted by: William A.Warnick, Paul L. Thompson, Mike Passeri, Roger Swift, Eicke Schomann, Deb Toavs
Reference: Reuters, US Government Peace Corps Manual

The following excerpt (now known to be an Urban Legend) is purportedly from the US Government Peace Corps Manual for volunteers working in the Amazon Jungle. It details what to do if an anaconda attacks you. Related to the boa constrictor, the anaconda is the largest snake species in the world. It grows to thirty-five feet in length and weighs 300 to 400 pounds.

1. If you are attacked by an anaconda, do not run. The snake is faster than you are.

2. Lie flat on the ground. Put your arms tight against your sides, your legs tight against one another.

3. Tuck your chin in.

4. The snake will begin to nudge and climb over your body.

5. Do not panic.

6. After the snake has examined you, it will begin to swallow you from the feet end - always from the feet end. Permit the snake to swallow your feet and ankles. Do not panic!

7. The snake will now begin to suck your legs into its body. You must lie perfectly still. This will take a long time.

8. When the snake has reached your knees slowly and with as little movement as possible, reach down, take your knife and very gently slide it into the side of the snake's mouth between the edge of its mouth and your leg, then suddenly rip upwards, severing the snake's head.

9. Be sure you have your knife.

10. Be sure your knife is sharp.

Todd Cook says: "As an informed Herpetologist, I can tell you that this is not true. Anacondas, boa constrictors and pythons swallow from the head down 99% of the time, almost always after constricting the prey to death. Even if a snake finds a dead animal it will often constrict it to make sure it is dead before eating it."

The Folklore Society firmly debunks this account.

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