Snakes are not the most popular creatures on earth. Some people shudder even at the mention of them. Often, harmless varieties of snakes are killed simply because people do not like them and do not want them around. This combined with other problems, such as loss of habitat, has led to some species of snakes becoming threatened or endangered. Conservation is often overlooked at times by lawmakers because of the prejudice the general public has against snakes.
Snakes are a valuable and important part of the ecosystem. They feed on insects, rats, and other pests and help maintain balance by keeping the populations of the animals the prey on down.
The majority of snakes are nonvenomous. Most snakes, even venomous snakes, will not bite unless they are threatened or in self defense. Most snakes are no more likely to bite than any other wild animal. Given a choice, they are more likely to flee than bite. . The majority of snake bites in the US occur when someone is handling a snake, or attempting to catch it.
The best thing to do if you see a snake is leave it alone. If it is on your property, and you can positively identify it as non poisonous, it is best to just leave it where it is. Most snakes will go away on their own. If it is in a spot where it is sunning itself, it may remain for several hours but will eventually go away.
If it is a venomous snake, or you arenít sure, do not attempt to handle it. Killing it is not a good idea either, and you may be bitten in the process. Instead, contact your local wildlife services or herpetological society to come remove it for you. If you are bitten by a snake, seek emergency medical attention immediately, even if you think it is nonpoisonous as infection or allergic reactions can occur.
Some people, sometimes with good intentions will collect snakes from the wild. Some have the intention of breeding them and then releasing the offspring in order to replenish the numbers of some declining species. While this may sound good on the surface, the fact is that snakes born in the wild often cannot survive in captivity. Snakes born in the wild are accustomed to regulating their body temperatures in a certain way. Often, they cannot do this in captivity. this combined with the stress of being confined and in captivity makes the snakes vulnerable to disease, parasites and death. Snake collection should be left to qualified experts.
Links
Treating and Preventing Venomnous Bites
How to Get along with snakes
Herpetoculture and Conservation
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