Animal Encounters With Tiffany Eddy

Hosting a TV show isn’t always a glamorous business

Illustration by Brad Fitzpatrick

People often ask me, “What’s your favorite story you ever covered?”

That’s a tough question.

 However, animals always make for adventurous television. Throughout my tenure at “New Hampshire Chronicle,” I have been nipped by horses, bitten by bunnies (yes, those cute little critters have really sharp teeth), sneezed on by alpacas and gotten too close for comfort with poisonous snakes. 

People hate snakes. They don’t really bother me, so I was game when we went to explore a reptile center full of thousands of snakes. Some poisonous, also known as “hot”; some non-venomous, but still with teeth. One small boa I was handling decided it had had enough of me and starting biting my hand. I screamed and instinctively dropped the little fella to the ground; it was one of those adrenaline-pumping moments. 

Needless to say, I made sure that clip didn’t make it into the story I produced. 

Later during that shoot, we went into an area where the venomous “hot snakes” were kept. 

"More terrifying than that snake was a goat."

“Do you have anti-venom on hand?” I nervously asked the handler as he pulled a deadly pit viper from its enclosure. “No,” he replied. “A poisonous snake is like a loaded gun — you don’t fool around with a loaded weapon, just as you don’t play with poisonous snakes.” His words did little to add to my comfort as the snake with its triangular head glided toward me and checked out my boot, its forked tongue a little too close for comfort. 

“See how relaxed his body language is?” said the handler. I have to admit I was more concerned with how close the snake was to me, rather than whether it was having a groovy afternoon. There’s not a lot you can do in a situation like that. You freak out, the snake bites you. End of story.

 “I think I’ve had enough,” I softly told the handler. 

More terrifying than that snake was a goat. I was covering Jon Huntsman days before the New Hampshire Primary. Governor Huntsman had earned the all-important endorsement of “Isaac the Goat.” Isaac had a proclivity for politics that is rare in farm animals. I was sent to cover the meeting of the Governor and the goat in Dover. 

It was a complete media scrum. Hundreds of reporters and photographers shoved together trying to get that perfect shot. I crouched down shooting up, but what I failed to take into account was that I was on the business end of the goat, and goats don’t cave to their inhibitions. All of a sudden reporters and photographers starting jumping back like they’d been scalded by hot water; Isaac in the middle of the scrum was pooping, right by my boot. I jumped back like my life depended on it.  

There’s a picture that ran in the Boston Herald. You can see me standing near Governor Huntsman with a scrunched-up look on my face and my photographer staring down at the mess near our feet. I’ve actually framed that photo. It hangs on my office wall as a reminder, never take yourself too seriously because you never know when … well, you can fill in the blank here.

Good thing it was a goat and not a bull.

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