Quickie Post — What does Endemic really mean?

Caiman, up close and personal, Pantanal, Brazil- note you would never get this close to an African Crocodile. Word.

One of the challenges in educating people about the current COVID pandemic is to get them to understand the literal myriad of terms involved. One of my favorites is “endemic”.

The dictionary definition of ‘endemic’ is: Denoting an area in which a particular disease is regularly found. The definition is pretty much the same for an animal, so we can cross-compare the two, and get a pretty good idea of a reasonable analogy.

Take, for example, alligators and Florida. It’s fair to say that alligators are both endemic, and (another one of my favorite words) ubiquitous (seemingly everywhere) in Florida. Since this blog is all about you developing your own sense of enlightenment, this is an easily testable hypothesis. If alligators are pretty much endemic in Florida, you ought to be able to, using the magical power of The Google, type in the word ‘alligator’ with some place that might exist in Florida.

Like ‘kitchen’. And sure enough, if you Google ‘alligator’ and ‘kitchen’ stories pop up of alligators in kitchens!

Like here!

I also Googled ‘alligator refrigerator’ and did find a hit in Charleston, S. Carolina — but after one hit, it ended up behind a paywall. I ain’t lying!

Later that evening, I was talking to a friend about this very topic. I said “since alligators are endemic, it wouldn’t surprise me if you Googled ‘alligator ice cream parlor’ and found a gator story. A little different, but what do you know. You will be rewarded with a TikTok video if you click through. Granted, the gator was getting a little help from a grown man, but what’s not to like about the human/alligator holobiont?

Before I leave you with this, I decided to Google ‘alligator car dealership’. Sure enough — though to be fair, this gator apparently was in Louisiana.

That’s what ‘endemic’ means! Now that doesn’t mean you WANT to have a gator at your car dealership. But things that are endemic are notoriously difficult to totally eradicate. Maybe some of the Zero COVID crowd could learn a little from this short post!

What’s the takeaway? Once a living thing is endemic in an environment, you simply have to learn to live with it. That goes for COVID — as well as gators!

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