I’m one of those rare people who actually like all snakes – every kind, even the poisonous ones. I don’t invade their space, but do observe them. I give a wide berth to wasps, hornets, skunks, and other creatures that oppose my getting up close and personal.
In my early teens, I had a pet Bull snake. He was a healthy five feet long. I used to carry him nonchalantly around my neck. He bit me two or three times, but each time, it was because I had either startled him or the like. I never blamed him, figuring it was just part of the fun of having such a creature as a pet. Being young, I never much considered the value of snakes. Later in life, I came to realize how each creature plays a role in the balance of nature.
Even biologists who study them don’t consider snakes to be very intelligent. In the Bible, God claimed they were cunning and cursed them all. He changed them to crawl on their belly and “eat dust.” By extrapolation, perhaps they used to have legs. Maybe that’s how legends of dragons came to be. In mythology, dragons were well known to be cunning and did have legs. Perhaps God was the original dragon slayer? After all, another name for “dragon” is “serpent.”
In any case, the slithering creatures we know in today’s world undulate their bodies silently, ready to strike any prey instantly. They’re not after you, just mice, rats, rabbits, and other small animals. They will only attack humans in self-defense and prefer to escape instead. Okay, slither away.
Even though few can cause damage to humans and try to avoid them, most people are scared of snakes. Some folks will either kill any snakes they encounter or will have someone else perform the deed for them. My cousin is a great example.
She and I were coming back from town when she was visiting. We saw a small snake, about two to three feet long, crossing the pavement in front of us. My cousin screamed for me to run over it. Instead, I stopped to let it cross the road. Not only that, I saw a car in my rearview mirror starting to pull around me. I got out, pointed to the snake, and indicated I wanted to let it cross. They were obliging, and the snake made it to the safety of the ditch. My cousin was upset with me and asked me why I hadn’t killed it. I knew she was a devout Christian. I used the logic that if God had created all creatures with a purpose, then it would be wrong to kill one without a good reason. She countered that she hated snakes, and that was reason enough. Illogical. I could see there was no winning the argument. After thinking further, I supposed that she could have said, “God hated snakes too. After all, he cursed them and disabled them per the Bible.”
I occasionally find snake skins around my farm buildings and know they are doing me a favor by eating any rats and mice they can catch. A snake sheds its skin when it has eaten well and grown enough that it must develop a larger one – just like kids outgrow their clothes.
I’m sure rats and mice have a purpose on Earth too. I prefer to think it is to provide my snakes with an excellent meal so they can grow and multiply. I love my fat snakes.