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The only good snake...

Posted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 12:35 pm
by millipede
Toe stepping time. I hope you're wearing comfy shoes.

"the only good snake is a dead snake"
It's a very common phrase. Much like the remarks of a racist, this comment is born out of ignorance and fear.
Before any of you snake haters get too upset with me, this is not meant as an insult. Fear for one, who doesn't have fears... and ignorance? What does ignorance mean? The short definition of the word ignorance is a lack of knowledge or education.
If I called you "ignorant", you'd probably be offended. But simply put it just means you don't know any better. You don't have all the information.
Actually... most people that repeat that phrase about snakes have learned that phrase AND fear from someone else, often their parents. (the same can be said of any fear or hatred, including racism as I already mentioned...)

At the moment I'm not in the long winded type writing mood(we'll see how it goes though) but for some reason this topic was on my mind and thought I'd write a few thoughts about it.

Here are some facts that you might not be aware or, or might not believe...

1. Snakes are not evil creatures. Despite what people might say, I don't believe there are actually any evil creatures.
Some quote genesis and say that the devil was a snake and so, all snakes are evil. In genesis, at least the translations I have read, it says he was a "serpent", doesn't say snake. It says he crawled on his belly... many lizards do this. All sorts of arguments could be made but the fact is, animals are animals. Their number one priority is survival. While I do not know everything there is to know about anything, I don't believe that any animals have evil intentions.

2. Snakes do NOT go out seeking to bite you. In fact, there are some snakes that are known to pretty much NEVER bite, even with handling. Snakes bite people for ONE reason only. Self defense. Many animals will attack when they feel threatened. I'll use the example of a water snake. Water snakes can be quite aggressive. If you corner one, it will strike repeatedly. BUT, if you were 20 feet away from a water snake, it would, upon seeing you, take off for water/hiding as quickly as possible. Snakes do NOT want to interact with you. They want to avoid you at all costs. But if they feel you are too close and they don't know what else to do, they might bite you. I don't blame them for that. MOST snake bites(and this is pure fact) occur when people try to handle a snake. Whether they're trying to play with it, catch it, move it, or even KILL it, this is when MOST snake bites occur.

3. Snakes do not JUMP out of trees at people in their boats. I always get a kick out of this rumor. As I stated already, snakes are NOT evil and snakes go out of their way to avoid people. That said, it is possible that snakes have FALLEN into boats. Those panicky people then go on to tell everyone they know that the snake JUMPED into their boat to attack them. HA. What happens is pretty simple. Snakes are cold blooded creatures... Some snakes hang out near water. Spend too much time IN the water and you will get cold. So, a snake will climb up on the bank OR a limb overhanging the water to get some sun. A branch over the water is the perfect place because when they get frightened they can just drop down and they are safe from harm. What happens sometimes is a snake doesn't retreat fast enough OR doesn't see a boat coming. Then someone either bumps the branch OR the snake finally sees you and it gets startled and then it DROPS(not jumps) down. Because the boat is right below the snake at this time, it isn't the snakes fault if this is where it lands.
Would the snake then turn and start biting? Quite possibly. At this point the snake is not in the water where it feels safe. It is in your boat with you, and it feels cornered and VERY scared. So it does what it can to protect itself.
If you're going to take a boat underneath some low branches on a river, just be cautious. Those snakes are NOT there waiting from you... they're trying to hide from you.

4. The only good snake is a dead snake? NOT. This is so not true. God created snakes. They are a part of nature AND play a role in the environment. Snakes eat rodents(how can you hate them for that). Some snakes will even eat venomous snakes. The truth is, snakes are not bad and can be quite helpful. Scientists are studying their venom and by doing so are creating new medicines.

5. Black snakes(rat snakes really) and copperheads do NOT interbreed. One lays eggs, one gives birth to live young. The combination just isn't possible.

6. MOST snakes you will find at the water are harmless water snakes. Water snakes will either bite or flee... a cotton mouth will sit there and it may open its mouth to warn you. Cottonmouths are NOT known for striking repeatedly just because you walk by. Most snakes that are killed on the assumption they are cottonmouths are usually water snakes or rat snakes.

I could go on but, I'm losing my train of thought. ( I guess this is a bit more long winded than I thought)
In some places, like here in Arkansas, it is illegal to kill a snake unless it poses an immediate danger.

If you don't like snakes I have two important words of advice for you.
1. Learn about them. Knowledge is very powerful. You'd be surprised how an opinion can change with knowledge.

2. Stay clear of them. If you see one, don't try to kill it. You might get bit that way.

More advice.....
One thing you can do around YOUR house to help keep snakes away. Clean up. Do you have brush piles? Garbage? Tin/metal laying around? Wood piles? Think like a snake for a moment. You need to keep cool when it is TOO hot out... AND, you want to hide from predators and humans. Eliminate those places to hide and you will cut down on the number of snakes you find on your property. At the same time, eliminating those places to hide will also eliminate the places that rodents hide... cut down on the prey(food) and you will cut down on the number of snakes looking for food there. Makes sense doesn't it?
Keep your lawn kept. This helps with cutting back on the places for both snakes and rodents to hide.
With a little effort you can learn to get along with snakes. they're not as bad as many people believe. Take the time to get to know more about them. It is worth the effort.

I keep thinking of racism as I write this... many years ago slavery was normal... even after that was abolished, the fear and hatred(REAL hatred) towards blacks continued. Not nearly to the same extent, it still continues today...
but back then if your parents hated blacks, chances are you would as well. It took a LONG time for people to wise up to the fact that people are people... we're all the same. It took a lot of unlearning. And that's not easy.
The same can be said about people with fears of snakes or any other creature. It is something you have learned, one way or another. Whether you unlearn that is up to you. It can be done though. :D

Re: The only good snake...

Posted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 1:58 pm
by Nicki
I don't like snakes, but my husband loves snakes; he's had several as pets (before he met me LOL) I kill poisonous snakes like copperheads, but I don't kill the black rat snakes I find in my chicken pens, or king snakes. I try to stay away from snakes and hope they do the same for me LOL.

Re: The only good snake...

Posted: Sat Oct 22, 2011 12:21 am
by millipede
I'm glad you save at least some of them. Some people are dead set in their ways about things like snakes... and a lot of other things in life of course. But, they do try to stay away from you as much as you try to stay away from them.
And if you let it... your husbands interests can rub off on you, at least a little.
My wife doesn't like the creepy crawly stuff as much as I do but she would admit she likes that stuff a lot more than she did before she met me.

Re: The only good snake...

Posted: Sat Oct 22, 2011 8:12 am
by Nicki
I don't mind alot of creepy crawly stuff, just not snakes and spiders LOL any other bugs, frogs, etc is fine