Macek: Snakes Need Our Protection

Non venomous adult bull snake and baby bull. Courtesy photo
 
By JAN MACEK
Los Alamos
“If you talk with the animals they will talk with you and you will know each other. If you do not talk to them, you will not know them and what you do not know, you will fear. What one fears, one destroys.”  Chief Dan George (1899-1981)
 
A decade ago, on September 4, Steve Irwin (known as the Crocodile Hunter) died in a very freakish accident. Some may criticize his methods but no one did more to educate the masses on reptiles and their plight around the world. His love, compassion and enthusiasm for all wildlife, especially reptiles, was unequaled and sadly, no one has come along to take his place since his death.
 
In his memory, I make the plea to all to please don’t take it upon yourself to kill snakes that you find on your property or elsewhere. If you see a snake and you are afraid for your pets and children, then take your kids and pets inside your house or just walk away. Most times, the snake will leave on its own. Snakes are more afraid of you than you should ever be of them. You can also use a stream of water from a hose to let the snake know it is unwanted. If you think it may be venomous, then call the Police Dispatcher at 662-8222 and they will have someone relocate the snake.
 
Snakes will NOT attack you or your children or pets! Sadly, it is humans and our pets that attack snakes. Snakes are just defending themselves the only way they know how and that is usually to mimic a rattlesnake. All snakes, even garters can flatten their heads and vibrate their tails and do what they can to convince you that they are dangerous in the hopes that you will leave them alone. Snakes are very shy creatures and mean you no harm. So please, just leave the snakes alone or have them relocated. There is just no justification to kill a snake; especially a harmless, beneficial, nonvenomous snake when there are other options available. Putting a picture of the snake on Social Media will get you almost instant help and much advice especially the Face Book sites for Los Alamos and White Rock. 
 
In the future, Steve Irwin’s legacy may be forgotten but your legacy as a parent and human being will live on in your children. What we teach our children now, compassion and love for other creatures I hope will be the legacy we want to leave for future generations.
 
“In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught.” (Baba Dioum, 1968.)
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