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?
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.
"There's just something comforting about having reptiles within striking distance of my junk."
Snakeskin boots are for quitters.
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?
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."
"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:
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:
"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.
"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?
Lizards Inside a Teddy Bear
Let's say you decide to order your significant other a bear-gram to show how much you care. Sure, sending teddy bears by snail mail might be a little soppy, and sure, being an adult who voluntarily gives teddy bears to other adults speaks volumes of you wearing a skin suit made from past dates on your off time, but that's just the kind of guy you are and you're not afraid to show it, goddammit.
Something about this just screams, "I want to see your face from the inside."
But what company to choose? There are so many. Eventually, you settle on an Australian one that seems to be quite a bit more expensive than the others -- because hey, that must mean their teddy bears are really special. So you contact them and place a delivery order to your girlfriend's workplace, to make sure everyone sees what a romantic soul you are.
A few days later, she unexpectedly dumps you by the phone, screaming something incoherent about lizards and calling Customs and Border Protection. And, right on cue, there's a knock at your door.
"Was it the sex dungeon? Because that belongs to my landlord."
This was a very real problem Australian customs officers faced in the first half of 2011. Not the mail delivery bears, that is, but the rare lizards that were stuffed in their hollowed-out chest cavities, Alien style. They found package after package of teddy bears filled to the brim with expensive Australian (and therefore automatically terrible) reptiles, to the point where every single bear package the postal system found offered another potentially traumatizing event in the life of the poor bastard who had to not only eviscerate goddamn teddy bears, but also face the risk of having bobtail lizards chestburst at him immediately afterward.
"Well, sure as hell can't tell the daughter about today."
Eventually, an investigation led the officials to a Hong Kong couple and their base of operations in Perth. A raid at their premises discovered a bunch of rare lizards, teddy bears and package material, a combination of items no explanation that wasn't either smuggling or a fairly particular sexual fetish could justify.
But why would anyone want to send people Australian animals, of all things, inside teddy bears? Why, for the love of all that is holy, would anyone ever knowingly order one? Well, it turns out overseas demand for native Australian animals is extremely high. For instance, the bobtail lizard we mentioned could fetch up to $7,500 per animal on the Asian black market.
Man, people are queuing up to buy Australian animals? We feel this proves conclusively that no one is paying attention to our warnings.
All the recovered lizards were released back into the wild, save two who were hired as beer mascots.
By this point, you've read most of this article and you already know how this plays out, so we're going to skip our preamble and cut right to the chase: a man strapped an army of hummingbirds to his dick.
"It seemed like the right thing to do."
Holy shit! There's nothing in that picture (of an unnamed Dutch criminal who strapped live hummingbirds to his underpants) that doesn't scream for a medic. The only way this could be a more suicidal scenario is if the guy had actually gone all out and smuggled woodpeckers, which as comedy writers we're actually kind of pissed he didn't try.
We're not exaggerating the hazard factor of the contraption, either: The security officials actually caught the guy (who was apparently an experienced smuggler) at the airport because he was fidgeting and looking extremely uncomfortable. We can only imagine how things would've turned out for him and his balls if he'd actually gotten on the plane.
Although the security officials' expressions speak volumes, here:
Note how only the woman is smiling.
Looking at this picture, you'd expect the word "anus" to show up more often in this entry.
But there are plenty of folks who strap birds to their bodies (he's just the weirdest). Take this 22-year-old Australian man who wrapped two random pigeons in a padded envelope and hid them in his athletic tights. They weren't sedated or anything -- they were just sort of hanging there, presumably cooing and pecking on his legs in protest for the duration of his 13-hour flight from Dubai to Melbourne. The guy also tried to smuggle some seeds and an illegal eggplant. The seeds because "What if the birds get hungry?" the eggplant because "What if I get hungry?" and the everything because "What if I'm full-on crazy? Mayday mayday, underpants trampoline!"
Are those pigeons in your pants, or are you just trying to infect endemic species with foreign ticks and parasites?
Incidentally, since Australia is extremely vulnerable to invasive species and therefore takes its biosecurity seriously, the man is facing a maximum prison term of 10 years and a $70,000 fine. For smuggling freaking pigeons, the animals mostly famous for making it impossible to sit on any flat surface in any major metropolitan area since the dawn of time.
And then we have Sonny Dong (tee hee!), who smuggled songbirds by somewhat disappointingly tucking them in little suits and sewing those to his socks.
"Because why shouldn't crime be adorable?"
The prosecutor alleged that the big break in this case were the tail feathers visible beneath Mr. Dong's pant cuffs, as well as the bird crap on his shoes, but we think it was probably the multiple birds attached to his socks.
This wasn't Dong's first rodeo, either -- in 2008, he was forced to abandon a suitcase containing 18 songbirds in a botched smuggling attempt. Upon tracking him, the police discovered a further 51 Asian songbirds -- 69 in all -- from his house, meaning that Mr. Dong must've had both the most apathetic neighbors and the world's most lenient landlord in recorded history.
"Your collection is coming along wonderfully, Sonny! Just keep dumping the dead ones out back by the azaleas."
We'll never know if the guy who strapped birds to his dong got the idea from the guy named Dong who strapped birds to his legs, but we like to think that he did.
Or, actually, we'd rather not think anything about either of these guys, because whenever the thought of one of them enters our minds we're immediately met with a mental picture that sticks with us for days, and we really don't want to think about it again because it's so painful and we just got it out of our heads and --