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Rant About Bad Reputation of Reptiles

Nile crocodile in zoo

Why one dialog from a film pissed me off.

So, one day while I was channel hopping, I came across Lake Placid. I don’t know which one was it, since that series has multiple films. But in that movie, a character remarked on how crocodiles hunt, even if they’re not hungry. “They hunt, even if they are not hungry.” Can you imagine how odd that sounds?

This line pissed me off, because I’ve been watching National Geographic, and Discovery since I was a kid (and back when they used to be good), and I can say with confidence that no. Crocodiles do not kill when they are not hungry.

How can I say this with confidence? Well, allow me to explain. You see, crocodiles have high amounts of lactic acid in their blood, which is the cause which prevents them from doing energy-intensive prolonged activities. That, of course, includes hunting. Aside from that, animals are pragmatic most of the time. They won’t chase you if you can’t be a meal for them, and they would happily eat an already dead prey instead of hunting. Hell, even humans did that back in the day.

Also, much like pythons, crocodiles also have a slow metabolism, meaning they can go for long periods of time without eating, and often they don’t need to eat as much as the mammal hunters like tigers and lions.

“But they are cold blooded killers!” To be honest, as a writer of stories, it is a great line to use. “He killed that guy in cold blood.” But when you actually examine it, it also doesn’t make much sense. For all humans like to talk about morality, we don’t have one set of morality across our species. Just look at the different countries and demographics; they all have different sets of moralities, and a sense of what is right and wrong. Projecting that sense of morality on animals doesn’t seem right to me. Besides, warm blooded hunters do exist; we also used to do that back in the day, and we are warm-blooded, last I checked. Besides, we still do raise animals for our consumption, or where do you think that meat comes from, which you enjoy so much?

So, one question remains.

Why do reptiles have such a reputation?

I can think of several reasons for it. For one, the human species has a developed sense of beauty and ugliness. If you look beautiful according to humans, then you can do no wrong. This also applies to people, which is why people are forgiving towards the crimes of a good-looking person as opposed to a person who looks like a street-dwelling thug.

Reptiles don’t look as great as, say, a golden eagle. Thus, you see reptiles or reptilian looking creatures casted as villains in human entertainment. There’s also this old fear, since our ancestors were hunted by reptiles in the past, before we evolved into our modern forms. So, I believe that is another reason. There’s also a third reason. With the combination of the first and second reasons, creatives for a movie think that a reptile is an easy villain, when they don’t want to think too hard about it.

All of those reasons combine to result in a movie like Lake Placid, which I absolutely avoid watching.


Published by Tanish Shrivastava

I'm a guy who likes programming, chess, and writing.

5 thoughts on “Rant About Bad Reputation of Reptiles

  1. You make perfect sense here. Not to mention the fact that reptiles, from what I’ve heard, lack a part of the brain that processes complex emotions so they probably couldn’t do it anyway. It’s the same thing with cats. I’ve seen grown men terrified of cats, convinced that they’re maliciously plotting evil against them. The fact of the matter is that a cat is a small prey animal itself and is probably scared out of its own mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Part of the problem is that humans see animals with the same lens of morality as us. But of course, these animals don’t think like us. They are not like us. And again, morality is a pretty disputed subject anyway.

      I say be cautious around the animals, but don’t say like they are evil, or plotting the downfall of the world. Because they can’t do either of those. Besides, humans are just a recent species on earth compare to some other animal species. If they really wanted to take over the world, they had plenty of time to do so before we evolved, and fucked the planet.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You’re a champion against reptile misinformation, for sure. Actually, it’s interesting how the points you brought up were mentioned in Becky Chambers’s sci-fi novel The Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet, where a lizard species finds it hard to ‘start up’ compared to humans. It was interesting seeing how the species lived their daily lives, even in a fictional story. Anyway, thanks for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you enjoyed the info. I”m horribly ashamed of humanity since they actually believe the stupidity like crocodiles pulling people in their cages? tanks? whatever they are kept in zoos through creating a vacuum in the air.

      This might work in the river and with small fish, but it will never work with fully grown humans. Thanks for commenting, Stuart!


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