Stop the Slaughter of Non-Venomous Snakes!
Kevin Felts 10.03.17
There is an old saying which says, “The only good snake is a dead snake.” That statement is wrong on many levels. In the United States there are only a handful of venomous snake species, yet all snakes are often branded as bad.
As hunting season approaches, millions of sportsmen will head into the wilderness to hunt their favorite game animals. Inevitably, many of their paths will lead to snakes. Whether is it walking along a creek or moving a log from across an ATV trail, sooner or later, hunters will see a snake.
The first reaction for many people is to kill the snake. That’s often a bad idea, though. Take for example the King Snake.
From Herps of Texas: Common King Snake.
Lampropeltis getula is a non-venomous constrictor, feeding primarily on other snakes, lizards, and rodents. Common kingsnakes have also been known to feed on reptile eggs, relying on their sense of smell to find most of its prey, including prey buried underground.
These kingsnakes are famous for their [immunity] to rattlesnake venom and they commonly feed on rattlesnakes as part of their diet.
While driving down a rural back road I came across a dead King Snake. Someone had stopped their vehicle and chopped the head of the snake. It was sad to see a non-venomous snake, which kills venomous snakes, dead. Why was it killed? Probably because someone had been taught that the only good snake is a dead snake.
There are plenty of other good snakes, such as:
- Rat snake (chicken snake).
- Hognose (spreading adder).
- Glossy Snake.
- Water snake, not to be confused with the Cotton Mouth.
Chances are, thousands of those snakes will be killed for no other other reason than being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
The rat snake serves an important role in controlling the rodent population. Want to keep rats and mice out of the deer camp? Leave rat snakes alone.
Then there is the matter of location; the hunter or hiker is in the snakes home. It is not like the snake was found in a playground full of kids.
When you are in the woods and see a snake, please take time to think before you act.