Saturday, October 5, 2013

Snakes get a bad rap


I know, and knew going in, that part of the struggle I would have with the success of the Serpenteens series, is the large number of people who have an aversion to snakes.  That's okay, I understand.  I have the same fear of spiders (If I see one in my house, my respect for all living creatures flies out the window).

But, aside from the snakes in the Serpenteens series being demigod teenagers who are trying to save humanity and are not in the same class, snakes shouldn't really be feared.  In fact, they get an undeserved bad rap.

Most people who fear snakes, fear them because of the fact that they have no legs, and need to maneuver around by slinking and sliding along the ground or other surfaces.  That serpentine motion immediately sets some people off.

But, have you ever taken time to think about the fact that snakes are very beneficial to the environment? Without them, we would be overrun by rodents and insects.  One rodent-eating snake can decimate a family of rats in weeks.  And several small snakes can annihilate a grasshopper population in a confined area in one summer.  Farmers appreciate that.

And snakes do all of this without harming the environment.  The don't dig holes, they don't chew leaves off plants, and they don't contribute one bit to noise pollution. Most snakes would rather hide from humans than attack them.  And the majority of snakes are non-venomous.  A snake is less likely to bite someone, even when handled, than the majority of wild animals.  I'd never try to pick up a raccoon or a squirrel or chicken hawk.

And snakes are clean animals and carry very few diseases.  They don't get fleas, or rabies, or mange.  And they leave very little in the way of droppings (also good fertilizer, since their prey is so well digested).

The next time you see a snake in your garden or your yard, if it's a harmless garter snake or something, shoo it away, don't kill it.  Obviously, snakes like our friend Kurt in Serpenteens, the rattlesnake, should be avoided.  But even they won't attack unless they feel threatened.

So give snakes a chance.  We'd be a lot worse off without them.

And don't forget to read the Serpenteens series! The planet will thank you, and so will I.

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