There’s an old anecdote originating from British rule of colonial India.
The British government, concerned over the number of venomous cobra snakes in Delhi, offered a lucrative bounty program to kill the snakes.
Initially, it worked like a charm. However, the impromptu bounty hunters, realizing that there was a fair bit of money to be made, began breeding cobras just to kill them and turn them in.
Once the government officials realized the scam, they scrapped the entire program.
However, in response to that, people simply let go all of the now-worthless cobras into the wild. The cobra population then boomed.
Hence, the origin of the phrase “the cobra effect,” wherein a purported solution actually makes the problem even worse.
The name of that phrase couldn’t be more appropriate for a business in Arizona that discovered a rattlesnake nestled under a crevice outside its building.
A group of investigators at the unnamed business discovered the sleeping snake and tried to prod it to get it to go away.
Things (almost) literally could not have gone any worse for the Arizona employees.
The snake, clearly perturbed based on the sound of its rattle, didn’t attack anyone. That would’ve been the worst-case scenario, considering that a bite from a rattlesnake can internally coagulate a human’s blood.
It also, as I expected it to do when I first watched the video, didn’t climb into the drainage pipe nearby.
So far, so good, right?
The intrepid snake seemed to have an escape plan ready just in the event that someone decided to poke it with a stick. It efficiently crawled into a crevice inside the wall of the building.
At least if it had gone in the drain pipe, people would have some semblance of an idea of where it would be.
In-between the walls, the snake could go virtually anywhere in the building. Imagine working in your office and a rattlesnake just plops down out of the ceiling tiles.
Better yet, don’t imagine it. That’s a problem for those Arizona employees to deal with.
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