Earlier this month, President Donald Trump had put forth his idea of building a moat filled with snakes and alligators to protect the U.S-Mexico border and prompted his aides to get him a cost estimate.

According to the editorial staff at Defense One, they crunched some numbers and found that the total cost of the President’s moat idea would be around $2.5 billion including set up and $1.8 bn annual operating costs. 

To begin with, the staff at Defense One assumed that there would be a minimum of 10 alligators and 100 snakes per moat mile. So the total number of alligators and snakes required for the 1,954 miles of moat guarding the U.S- Mexico border would come to 19,540 and 1,954,000 respectively.

The total cost of purchasing these many reptiles for the new moat border security force would alone cost close to $1 billion. However, these reptiles have a limited lifespan, especially snakes, which means a similar amount of money would need to be spent in the near future (7 years, considering the snake’s lifespan).

Though snakes and alligators do not require a salary to patrol the borders, they do need food to survive and the theories that they can survive solely on the flesh of illegal immigrant doesn’t hold much water.

Combining the costs of alligator food pellets and frozen rats that snakes eat, the yearly operational cost or the cost of keeping gators and snakes alive would come close to $380 million. Unfortunately, such a large number of animals patrolling the borders means there need to zoologists who can take care of them (unless the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE is forcefully handed over that responsibility). Their salaries and other perks would add up to $130 million a year roughly. 

Finally, there is the problem of healthcare. Assuming that most of the illegal immigrants would be torn apart by the loyal watchdogs, there is still a chance that 10 percent of the 76000 monthly illegal immigrants attacked by the gators and snakes won’t die immediately and instead would end up crossing the border successfully.

These injured illegal immigrants who pose a threat to the national security would surely be sent back to their countries, but only after they receive proper treatment for their injuries, that would add approximately another $1 billion to the costs. 

It is interesting to note that the total sum of $2.5 billion does not include the cost of building the moat. In order to fund this, the President may take a leaf out of his own book by diverting military construction funds once again for the purpose of national security.

While the President did suggest the bold multi-billion dollar idea, showing his commitment to protect the citizens from illegal immigrants who have not been linked to a single terrorist attack in the past 15 years, it is worth noting that the dangers caused by the proximity of poisonous snakes and gators such close to human settlements cannot be overlooked too. 

Maybe build another wall to stop them?

President Donald Trump says that Turkey will face sanctions over its military incursion into northeastern Syria President Donald Trump says that Turkey will face sanctions over its military incursion into northeastern Syria Photo: AFP / Nicholas Kamm