Zombies!

While Trinity and I were in the car the other day, we were discussing various things.  As usual for our family, the topic veered towards zombies.  This particular day, we began discussing animals in the post-zombie apocalypse world.  Trinity raised some important questions, and I would like your opinion.

We’re assuming a zombie very similar to those in The Walking Dead.  Here are the background facts:

  • Everyone is infected with a virus, and, no matter how you die, you turn.  Well, head wounds, brain damage, or anything that would kill a zombie would prevent turning.
  • A bite from a zombie doesn’t turn you; it just kills you.  I’m not sure if it’s a secondary virus, a type of bacteria, or a venom that they carry, but it’s very quick moving.  If you’re able to amputate the affected area fast enough, you can save a life.  By ‘fast enough’ I mean within a few minutes.
  • There have never, to the best of my knowledge, been a sighting of a zombie animal.  It seems only people are infected with the zombie virus.
  • Zombies do eat animals, however.
  • It’s unclear if zombie ‘venom’ is fatal to animals.

 

Trinity’s first questions was brought up because we saw a bunch of Turkey Vultures circling a wooded area.  In case you didn’t know, they are scavengers and eat dead animals.

Her questions was this:  Would vultures eat zombies?  She said, “Well, technically they are dead, but they’re still moving.”  So, would the movement scare them off?  What about ‘dead’ zombies?  Would eating a zombie kill the vulture?

This also goes along with her Zombie Apocalypse Dream House planning.  She wants to add a moat that is full of piranhas.  Would the piranhas be able to survive dining on a zombie?  Would piranhas want to eat zombies?

 

She’s an amazingly creative child, and I have no doubt she could be a writer if she wanted to.  I didn’t know how to answer these questions.  So, I’m hoping one of you can help solve these mysteries for her!

Also, I have the coolest kid ever.

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About pamasaurus

"I have learned to keep to myself how exceptional I am." ~Mason Cooley I'm a married stay at home mom living in Southern New Jersey. I have one daughter, one son, and three furbabies. I love to cook. I love to craft. I love to sew. I just.... love to create in general. I also am pretty fond of adventuring, of exploring new places. I'm shy when I first meet people, but once I'm comfortable with them, you can't shut me up. I'm crazy and silly. I have an unhealthy obsession with dinosaurs.
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13 Responses to Zombies!

  1. She is amazing to think of all that! Nicole would probably work Narwals in there somewhere. It’d be fun to put those two in a room then be a fly on the wall to see what a couple of creative kids could come up with 🙂

    The question may be unanswerable – Has anyone ever figured out the mechanism by which a virus becomes trans-species in real life, like swine flu for example? How is it that an illness can spread from one species to another sometimes, but not in others (like humans don’t get canine parvovirus, do they? ) Trinity might be on to CDC level stuff here.

    • pamasaurus says:

      I have no doubt they could write the plot for the next Harry Potter, except it would be like Zombies vs Narwals. I’d totally read that book/see that movie!

      I learned about this in one of my health classes in college. msdulce commented about how this type of disease works: something about the virus protein bonding to the proteins in our cells.

      Anyway, the proteins have to match up and be compatible. That’s why viruses usually only affect one species. However, sometimes the virus protein mutates. It would be like how our DNA sometimes gets messed up and people end up with Down’s or an extra finger. Well, when the virus protein mutates, sometimes it becomes compatible with another species. There’s more to it than that, like it being exposed to the other species’ DNA helps it to mutate, but I forget the specifics.

      So, I guess that, while this zombie virus is only affecting humans right now, it might in the future mutate to affect another species.

      I don’t think The Walking Dead’s creator thought about all of this, though. Or he has, and we just haven’t experienced it yet…..

  2. msdulce says:

    At the risk of sounding like a creeper, I love your kid! 🙂 So… here’s my best veterinarian answer… I think it may be a bit too sciency, but that’s how I roll. I picture zombie-disease to be a prion-transmitted disease (like mad cow or other spongiform encephalopathies). We all have these particular proteins (P) on our cell membranes, and when we ingest zombie, for example, another infected protein from the zombie meat (P-zombie) binds to P and causes it to change shape. This is how animals are infected by prion-transmitted diseases. P proteins are most highly concentrated in neural tissues like brain or spinal cord, so you’re a lot more likely to get prion-transmitted diseases if you’re eating brain like a nasty zombie. BUT… prion-transmitted diseases are very rarely spread between species (mad cow was a notable exception) because even among mammals, the structure of P proteins is different enough to keep the zombie proteins to bind and cause infection. I think it’s the difference in these P proteins that allow animals, as different species, to keep from being infected. I wonder if chimps would be similar enough to become zombie-fied? Ask Trinity, she’ll know. Also… because animals are so awesome, let’s say the vultures know to stay away from eating zombie brain & neural tissue. Just in case. Again… Trinity is awesome… and I’m embarrassed…

    • pamasaurus says:

      She’s pretty awesome! Her imagination is amazing!!

      I’m sure she’ll love the scientific answer. She bounces between wanting to be a veterinarian, marine biologist, writer, and artist.

      So, thanks for the science explanation. I love sciency stuff, but Chemistry was always my obsession 😉

      You never see zombie movies/shows/books/anything set in areas where chimps live. That’s a really good question! I think I’ll stay away from the zoo during the zombie apocalypse just in case!

      Nothing to be embarrassed about!

  3. arzea says:

    Have you seen the trailer for World War Z with Brad Pitt? Looks goood!

  4. msdulce says:

    And yes- I can provide confirmation that piranhas would be psyched to eat zombies and should have even less chance of becoming zombified by virtue of being even more distantly related to humans. I hope this helps her move forward with the Zombie Apocalypse Dream House.

  5. Jecca says:

    BFFF, You and Trin are the freakin’ Bomb, just saying.. I’ve thought about Zombie animals too, and they don’t really show any infected animals on the walking dead.. Hmm.. that’s interesting isn’t it?! I wonder if the animals would just die off? Maybe their systems just can’t handle the infection?.. I’ve seen other Zombie movies where they have zombie dogs and such.. But really.. What about the birds? I also always wondered about the “worms” that eat the dead bodies.. I mean. Like when Shane came back.. Where were the worms?

    Also.. I agree.. What about the animals that are more like humans? Like the Chimps, Pigs, and cows? Shouldn’t they be turning too? And if they did, would they want to eat humans or just the other animals like themselves?

    Haha! You started something here. ❤

    I think a moat filled with spikes instead of water would be a better idea than Piranhas.. Just cause.. You know.. They might die from the infection.. If the infection didn't kill them, I think they would love the taste of Zombie, just cause at pet stores they feed them meat and that's just dead flesh really.. and we are suppose to taste like pork. (Or so I have read!)

    But the birds.. That's the real question. Why wouldn't the vultures attack the Zombies? And they would attack them head first so it would get to their brains and kill them.. But.. They never show ANY Birds! Ugh! We should write the writers of WD and ask them about the animals! LOL!

    • pamasaurus says:

      mcdulce has a good explanation as to why there are no zombie animals. It’s like how some diseases only affect certain species. The zombie virus is only compatible with human DNA.

      I guess animals know not to eat zombies? They can sense the changes happening/the virus and know to stay away? That’s why there’s no worms or other insects feasting on the bodies before they turn.

      I think, if animals were to turn, they’d eat whatever. There was a zombie eating a deer on TWD the other night. So, there’s definitely cross-species devouring taking place.

      Spikes might be nice, but she has her heart set on piranhas. She really just wants a pet piranha, haha.

      Somehow, we ended up talking about zombie!piranhas and how we would just fill the moat in with cement instead of trying to kill them all. Then, it really creeped me out to think about them being alive forever in the cement, unless the weight of it crushes their brains.

      Then, Daniel mentioned that someone down the line could try to dig through the cement and get attacked by a surprise zombie!piranha. Could you imagine?

      That’s how the second zombie apocalypse starts, by the way.

      I think I’ll just email this post to the TWD people. Then, maybe we’ll get some answers.

  6. okay, so I’m WAY behind on reading posts – but I love this one. Mr. Picky eater and I are huge Walking Dead fans! The vet provided a very thorough and clear response to Trinity’s question so I can’t improve upon that – All I know is that the hubs keeps telling me to back into the garage in case we have to escape the zombies quickly!!

    • pamasaurus says:

      I’m way behind on reading posts, too! I’m so overwhelmed looking at all the notifications, haha. Glad you enjoyed this post! Zombies are pretty awesome. That’s too funny about the cars! I knew there was a reason I liked you, haha 😉

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