Is The Only Good Snake A Dead Snake? Not At All!
Many people have a natural aversion of snakes, while many others simply hate them. However, the negative stigma that surrounds snakes is completely undeserved. Snakes are in fact extremely beneficial animals to have around.
Many snake species prey heavily on insects and rodents. When snake populations decline the populations of these prey items increases, often causing serious problems to people.
Insects and other arthropods can destroy gardens or enter people’s homes where they will be undesired. When rodent populations serge they can destroy crops at an alarming rate, effecting supplies of food and industries.
They can also spread many harmful diseases. It is well documented that rodents are also a common cause of house fires, started by the chewing of wires in walls and attics. Snakes do humans a tremendous service by helping to minimize all of these threats.
Snakes are extremely valuable because they are efficient at keeping the number of rodents and insects in check, without relying on damaging chemical pesticides which can degrade the environment and harm other animal species.
Snakes are very effective at hunting such prey because they can crawl into small burrows and other areas that rodents use as shelters. These places are too small for other predators to get into.
Snakes are also helping to save the lives of millions of people every year, as the venoms from snakes are being used to treat many serious health ailments like cancers, heart & stroke disease, Parkinsons, and many more.
However, despite these benefits legions of snakes are directly killed by fearful people every year. Human fear of snakes is mainly derived from the fact that some species have the ability to inject toxic venom, or from the belief that snakes are notoriously aggressive. However, the snake’s horrible reputation is not deserved. Snakes are very shy, timid, secretive, and generally docile creatures that try to avoid conflict when ever possible.
Snakes will not make unprovoked attacks on people. When a person comes in contact with a snake, the animal’s first instinct will be to rapidly flee the area and find shelter. If the snake doesn’t do this, it may just stay perfectly still to try to blend in with the surroundings.
Even if the snake is captured, it may still not resort to biting – proof of its gentle demeanor. The snake has several harmless tactics it can resort to as an alternative to biting. The snake may hiss, make mock strikes with a closed mouth, or flail around to try and escape.
The following excerpt from University of Georgia Professor Dr. Gibbons speaks for itself:
All the snake species tested have had the same initial response to human presence. If given the opportunity, they escape–down a hole, under a ledge, or in the case of cottonmouth snakes, into the water. Escape is even the standard behavior of enormous diamondback rattlesnakes, which will immediately disappear if they have enough warning before they think a person can reach them. The snakes just want us to leave them alone.
Snake bites on humans usually only happen when someone is deliberately trying to provoke or harm a snake, and the animal bites purely in self defense.
According to NC State University, almost 80% of snake bites happen when someone is trying to capture or kill the snake. All these facts show that snakes are not aggressive or evil animals. If you provoke and capture a wild animal, what can you expect but to be bitten since the animal is going to try to defend itself?
The key to being safe around snakes is to simply leave them alone. Edward R. Ricciuti’s The Snake Almanac (Lyons Press 2001), states that venomous snakes do not look for people to bite and Mark O’ Shea’s Venomous Snakes of the World (Princeton University Press 2005), proclaims that people must realize that snakes are not out to bite them but prefer to be left alone.
This is why co-existing with snakes in a respectful manner is the best policy.