If It Was a Snake it Woulda Bit You?

Snakes.

Photograph by Robert Pickett, Papilio/Corbis (from the National Geographic website)
Photograph by Robert Pickett, Papilio/Corbis (from the National Geographic website)

Let me guess, the first thing you said was, “EWWWWWW!!!!!”

But snakes get a really bad rap.

Did you know that scientists have shown that young children do not fear snakes, but are very good at finding them? Yep. It’s only when us grown-ups teach them to fear snakes that they do.

So why do we fear snakes? We’re taught to do so. And media doesn’t help- with movies like Snakes on a Plane. But many of our problems with snakes are of our own making, such as with pythons taking over the Everglades.

There are approximately 6,000 snakes bites in the US each year. Compare that to over 4 million dog bites. Most of those bites occurred because the human was the aggressor and tried to catch, move, kill, or otherwise harass the snake. An average of 60 people in the US die from snake bite each year.

Photo by Mark Moran, from Fairfax County Public Schools website
Black Rat Snake, Photo by Mark Moran, from Fairfax County Public Schools website

So  why are snakes good to have around? Snakes keep down rodent populations. Rats and mice can reproduce rapidly. Without snakes to keep their numbers in check, we’d soon have them everywhere. Smart farmers know this and encourage snakes to live on the farm. Where do you have problems with rats? Where snakes don’t live.

Oh, here’s an interesting bit of trivia for you. Snakes are not poisonous. What? Of course they are! Nope, snakes are venomous. Poisonous creatures produce a toxin that is ingested or absorbed. Venomous creatures inject a toxin into the victim. Did you know that snake venom is only toxic if injected into the bloodstream? You could, theoretically, drink the venom and the acids in the stomach would break it down. But don’t do that, because if you had a sore in your mouth or stomach lining, it would be curtains for you!

Rough green snake, from the University of Pittsburgh website
Rough green snake, from the University of Pittsburgh website

So what should you do if you see a snake? Leave it be. If it’s somewhere it’s not supposed to be, such as in your house or car….. or a plane…… get an expert to remove it.

52 thoughts on “If It Was a Snake it Woulda Bit You?

  1. Wonderful writing about them. I agree with you. But I should say honestly I am afraid of them… Last spring I saw one of them in the open area/in the field, near our house in the village. When I talk with the villagers, they said that there wasn’t rat in this area… and it is not because of the cats 🙂 it is because of the snakes… On the other hand, some birds catch the snakes and eat them too… One of them left a snake at the balcony of someone while flying….
    There is a great harmony in nature world… But I am afraid in many ways this harmony gets damaged… Human changed this and still goes on too… Thank you dear Rumpy, love, nia

      1. I known how important they are as I tried to explain in my comment dear, but I am afraid too. But I don’t want to give them damage or kill… I shouldn’t be a smart one. 🙂

      2. Rumpydog, you are soooooo right…snakes DO get a bad rap. I guess I’m just one of those weird people that likes snakes. I have a healthy respect for copperheads and other venomous snakes, but have always
        “championed the cause” for black snakes, king snakes, rat snakes, garter snakes and the like, because I’d sure like a snake as a house guest much better than a rodent! My late husband told me the last winter we lived in Greensboro that I would be sorry I didn’t get rid of the black snake that lived under our house and came up into the metal cabinets around the water pipe to the kitchen sink. He was always worried that the snake would somehow get out of the cabinet and find it’s way to our bird cages, but it would have had to be a suicidal snake to do that, because there were 4 cats that positioned themselves in front of the cabinet, and followed the snake’s progress back and forth when it came up from the crawl space under the house… Before we always had problems with field mice getting in the house, but with my buddy the black snake around, NO mice or rats or chipmunk pests to be seen! Black snakes are a good deterrent for copperheads, too, which is a very good thing!

  2. I have the greatest respect for snakes! They’re very beautiful, much maligned, utterly fascinating and a totally instrinsic part this planet! Yes, leave them be! Take care
    x

  3. I(Dennis the cat), love snakes and so does my human. We have worm snakes in our yard. They are small pinkish snakes that eat grubs and other garden pests. We love them!

    1. Jen loves snakes too. She has found them before living around our storage buildings in various places we have lived. Each time she has left them alone, because they keep rodents away.

  4. Dear green snakie!

    This is elected Purrime Ministerettes of Planet Purrth serving all anipals except snakies.

    Last year you was in PM office wiz all other snakies on Planet Purrth and we been ordering all yous to go to North Pole for purrmanent depurrtation and now you is here on bloggie.

    This is not according to agreement you has wiz us!

    We is therefore sending for you and want you in office tonight 8PM for major spanka. We shall be financing single ticket to North Pole. We shall check if you really get on boat and sail away to Pole.

    Signed by Purrime Ministerettes

      1. Helpful how? We has decided them no has trust and is very unreliable. So therefore, green snakie, we needing you in office. We has single ticket ready.

  5. I better watch them from a distance (a GREAT distance). My mom was bitten by a snake as she was a child, so we better give snakes a wide, wide berth. I wish people would stop to keep them as pets, so many snakes will be dumped when they are to big or the owner thinks they are boring.

  6. Thank you, Rumpy for this article. The are not malign at all, why should they?
    They don’t even care about us, if we were not dangerous for them.

    Maybe some people should be aware that some old traditional sayings are more symbols than truth.

  7. Our mom was a Teacher… and one day there was a SNAKE in her Classroom… She put the Trash can over it and the janitor came and took it BACK OUTSIDE ….. where it belonged.. and while all that was going on what did the kids do??? They just sat quietly and watched.

      1. no surprises there…can you imagine anyone else that would be silly enough to just reach for a snake (and most folks, male and female, are right handed, aren’t they?)…maybe it’s a testosterone thing?…

  8. All right Rumpy….I have to admit that I said “Ewwwwww” when I saw the first picture….In fact, all pictures scared me….*goose skin*
    Yes, I agree…if we see snakes, I’ll leave it to be. I hope I won’t see any…..

  9. We have loads on our land. The way to live happily together is to make lots of noise when walking and the snakes make a quick exit. The worst thing to do is to move fast and silently as the poor things can’t get out of the way fast enough. Our cats have been known to bring back babies and play with them in the courtyard. Snakes on Planes – the one movie I haven’t managed to watch through!

  10. Actually, I didn’t say “Ewwwww.” I said, “Wow, what a cool picture!” Haha.

    GREAT post today. Snakes do get a bad rap … they are important, and so misunderstood!

  11. Not but two weeks ago we were clearing out some roof paneling that had fallen from where we stacked it and found a rather large Garter snake. Kevin was “OMG” and called me out of the house quick-like, he couldn’t tell what kind it was. We would have left it alone if it wasn’t for us needing to clear up that space, so I quickly and gently caught it, moved it 20ft away with access to hide-y holes, warm spots, and rodent meals, so we could continue working without harming it.

  12. My first initial response to the picture was: “How adorable.” As a young child, my sibling and I discovered a snake at the side of the road. We panicked and one of us, or possibly both (kind of a blur to me), threw a brick on top of the creature. That very image has haunted me my entire life and I’ve had huge remorse about it. Once I was able to come to my own conclusions, finding that snakes aren’t wicked and out to purposely hurt people, things have turned out quite differently. I have been a vegan for over 10 years and have the utmost love and respect for all living things, even roaches. I’ve rescued more animals than I can count, all kinds of critters, and my dream is to establish some sort of rescue ranch for handicapped animals one day. Bless you for taking a stand for snakes.

  13. The first pic is so cute! The snake looks like a Muppet. 🙂
    We love snakes here, our lizard (Solomon Island skink) Doug is like a snake with legs. We adopted him from a friend that got him from someone else who re-homed him on Craigslist, I think we’ve had him about 14 years. I definitely wouldn’t buy a snake or other reptile from a breeder or pet store, that just encourages them to breed more in captivity.

  14. Very nice post Rumpy. I agree with you and I do like snakes actually. We have some around my house actually which is good because we also have wild rodents. I have been bit by a snake at work before, and boy did it hurt! But I’m not mad at the snake. He hadn’t eaten in a month and I smelled like rabbits and guinea pigs.

  15. Rumpy they are part of our world here and this time of year is theres..we leave them but cannot have them anywhere near the house they are deadly these ones ..so we discourage them by not providing habitat near the house yard,by having snake mesh around the house yard fencing so they can’t get in..etc we don’t feed the dogs out side and we have water out of reach…snake dude is on speed dial…for 50 dollars he will catch and relocate..within 5 km as per wildlife regs.

  16. I like snakes, too, Rumpy. We have lots of them in our neighborhood. The venomous kind (Rattlesnakes) and the non-venomous kind – mostly Bullsnakes. And the Bullsnakes keep the Rattlesnakes away. In fact, we host a family of Bullsnakes under our patio as we’re glad to have them with less worries about Rattlesnakes in our yard. When I see a Bullsnake crossing the road in our neighborhood, I stop the car and gently shoo it off the road so it wont get hit. I like your post today!

  17. Actually, I thought the first photo of the snake on your post was cute. I found one in our house last year and quickly removed it to live a quiet, and hopefully, stress-free life outdoors where it could chase down unwanted pests.

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