The 5 Most Baffling Attempts to Smuggle Live Animals

Sadly, we live in a world where animal smuggling is a thing. And like with most things, there is an art to it: The smuggler needs to be sly, confident and creative in order to get his cargo to the required destination.

Except that more often than not, it seems they just say "Screw it," stuff a hippo under their shirt so that it's kinda out of sight and enter the airport security line whistling. Because what could go wrong?

#5. Snakes Taped to Chest

Imagine you're sitting on a ferry between Denmark and Norway with 14 pythons strapped to your chest. Now imagine that you're doing it but not because a supervillain forced you into it. You voluntarily stuffed 14 pythons into tennis socks and then duct-taped them onto your own body, and now you're riding a ferry, trying to remember whether any of the socks had holes in them, and at no point did you ever stop to think, "Say, I wonder if I'm one of those crazy people I've heard about on the news."

"They can't hear the hissing, they can't hear the hissing, they can't ..."

Take a moment to recap all the bad decisions you had to make, all the questions you had to answer wrong to end up in this situation: "Should I start smuggling animals?" "Should those animals be snakes?" "How can I do this with the least possible amount of danger and discomfort?" and "Holy shit, are they moving?"

That final one, incidentally, is going to last for the duration of both the trip and every dream you will have from now on, ever.
For full effect, imagine every bag squirming and hissing.

This unlikely scenario was lived in full by a 22-year-old Norwegian man, who was noted by the Norwegian customs officials upon exiting the ferry. The eagle-eyed customs officials could tell he was smuggling something because his whole body was in constant, unnatural jiggling motion, the way a standard body behaves when covered in snakes. And when we say whole body, we mean it: A further search of the man's belongings and body found an additional stash of 10 fairly frustrated albino leopard geckos boxed and taped to the man's legs, even though that's right by where his wiener spends all of its time.

"He could have at least had the decency to take a shower."

Each of the 24 animals was awake and exactly as pissed off as you'd imagine. And he had taped them on himself. On purpose.

But the writhing and the hissing isn't actually what drew attention. The reason this shaking pile of snakes was searched in the first place was because a tarantula he was also trying to smuggle had escaped from his bag.

"Aw, geez, I knew I shoulda smuggled you in my mouth instead of my bag. Stupid. Always go with your gut."

The snakes, by the way, were found to be royal pythons, which are neither rare nor valuable, so apparently the man was smuggling animals across international waters just because he could.

Except he can't. Because he's an idiot.

Daily Mail

AFP/Getty Images via Daily Mail
"There's just something comforting about having reptiles within striking distance of my junk."

Snakeskin boots are for quitters.

#4. A Tiger in a Suitcase

What do zebras, leaf insects and tigers have in common?

They all camouflage themselves in the wild.

What else do they have in common?

AP via Daily Mail

They all camouflage pretty poorly in a suitcase.

While to most people that would seem like "bricks are inedible"-level basic logic, Piyawan Palasarn decided to give it a go anyway, because apparently she had no understanding about how airport security works. So she took the biggest-ass suitcase she could find, filled it to the brim with stuffed toys and, oh yes, a drugged-up, 3-month-old tiger cub. Then she calmly booked a flight from Bangkok to Iran, where there's apparently a demand for pet tigers with luggage-induced claustrophobia.

"Fluffy here once mauled a man for carrying a Samsonite briefcase."

Here's how fooled the security officials at the Bangkok airport were:

"Hey, Bob! Look at that big suitcase going through the X-ray. That lady sure loves her stuffed toys."

"Ha, yeah."

"It's just that I can't help wondering what that live tiger cub is doing there. I mean, I can hear snoring and everything."

"You know, that's a good point. Excuse me, madam ..."

Palasarn obviously never got to board her flight. When she found out the hard way that fluffy toys don't usually have skeletons that show up on X-ray machines, while tigers, in fact, do, she immediately proved to be just as inept when it came to excuses. She claimed that the luggage, contents and all, belonged to a friend and she was just holding it for them, an explanation that the customs officials in freaking Bangkok have surely never heard.

"Hey, it isn't human! Today counts as a win."

So Palasarn got her ass arrested and the drowsy and dehydrated tiger cub was brought into the custody of Traffic wildlife health unit, where it fortunately recovered from its adventure nicely and adorably:

#3. The Fish Apron

So you're a customs officer at Melbourne International Airport, grinding through just another shift of routine security checks and the occasional bomb threat caused by a vibrator. You've seen (and cavity searched) pretty much everything humanity has to offer, and therefore think nothing much of the nervous-looking woman approaching your checkpoint.

That is, until you notice her skirt moving in ways no garment should. It bulges and flexes in strange places, giving you the impression that either the woman has several extra knees or, more likely, that you should totally pull her aside.

"Ma'am, are you the formless avatar of an Elder God?"

And then you hear it. A strange, unnervingly moist sound that you can't quite recognize. You don't know what it is, but it's coming from under her skirt.

"I'm just going to do the whole customs thing for a little while, until something better comes along," you remember telling yourself. But now it's 12 years later and you're tasked with investigating the mounds of pulsating glop hidden beneath a nervous woman's skirt.

"On the plus side, we probably won't need lube."

As you lead the woman into the examination room, your horrified mind tries to come up with an explanation to why her underskirt regions might be making wet, flapping sounds. It comes up with several. None are pleasant.

But all of your theories couldn't match the stupid, stupid reality:

Australian Customs Service
"I just have really, really, really big bones. That swim."

In June 2005, just before she was caught by customs officials, fish enthusiast Sharon Naismith had entered the women's toilets and came out wearing a custom-made under-apron that contained 15 bags of water, which in turn contained 51 tropical fish with a total worth of $30,000. She had, apparently, bought them during her vacation in Malaysia because they were neat, then decided on a whim that hey, professional smuggling is neat, too!

But as every customs official knows, if a woman goes into the bathroom a size 12 from the waist down and comes out walking really slowly and with legs thicker than Ronnie Coleman's, she just might be hiding something. Customs officials reported that they became suspicious of Naismith when her pelvic area started making flipping noises.

Australian Customs Service
"These poor bastards are going to need months of therapy."

Naismith was promptly arrested and charged with attempting to import regulated wildlife, although she maintains to this day her only crime was that she really, really liked fish. And really, who are we to argue with the logic of a woman who voluntarily wears live fish pants?

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