Thursday, November 05, 2009

It's Tough to be a Snake.


I was born without the "snakes are creepy" gene.
Silverfish are creepy. Centipedes are creepy. Worms are creepy.
Not snakes. Since I was little, they were colorful ribbons of wonder. As a kid, I didn't get why people disliked them.
I knew some snakes were trouble. Rattlesnakes, for example. They sometimes wandered into our quasi-rural yard and promptly got whacked by my dad's shovel. I felt a little bad for them, but their fang baring, tail buzzing shtick (and the fact that they could hurt you) didn't make them sympathetic.
What shocked me was that some neighbors gave any snake the shovel. I couldn't believe it. They know those aren't rattlesnakes. I thought. Why are they killing them? That's mean!
I checked out some snake books at the library. I discovered the truth.
Most of the world hated snakes.
The books pointed out that most were harmless, and in fact, beneficial. People either didn't understand this, or didn't care. One book had a realistic drawing of a man attacking a harmless one with a shovel. This upset me. That's not fair, I thought, fighting tears. The snake didn't do anything wrong!

5 comments:

Sally said...

I'm with you. Snakes are intriguing. But I don't like to hike in rattlesnake country, and poor Pepper was taken down by the dirty venom-less bite of a rattlesnake.

Linda said...

I like you, Namo.

stray said...

Love the shadow.

Namowal said...

Hi Sally,
I agree that rattlesnakes are the hooligans of the snake stadium. Nothing's like being on a hike and hearing one nearby.
Supposedly, people killing rattlesnakes has had a bad side effect over the years- since rattle first, strike next snakes are more likely to be noticed, they get killed more than the ones who just bite when threatened. Thus we're left with more ornery ones who strike without warning.

Thanks, Linda.

Hi Stray,
Thanks for liking the shadow.

James said...

I mostly agree, but I can at least understand why people find snakes unnerving. I am far more troubled by the hatred that so many people have for squirrels. They are cute and clever and delightful, but many people just call them rats. It's just nit right.