The Only Good Snake?

Some people say the only good snake is a dead snake.  I disagree.

This week some kids found something interesting behind a corner of the building.  A member of the staff managed to herd it into a rubbermaid container with a broomstick, a maneuver that, sadly, I did not witness.

Yesterday we took it to a wooded trail on a different part of the island to release it.  What an incredibly beautiful animal.

It was just a little thing, maybe twelve or sixteen inches long.  Its rattle, with its single button, was vibrating nonstop without producing an audible noise.

How could anyone not admire those beautiful markings?  I know enough to admire it from afar, of course, but it doesn’t scare me and I always have to remind myself that some people are really frightened of snakes – some people will kill snakes on sight – because that is so not how my mind works.  I love snakes.  According to Wikipedia (I know, I know, but the article cited a peer-reviewed journal to back this up), over 40% of snakebite victims put themselves in harm’s way by attempting to capture wild snakes or carelessly handling dangerous pets, and 40% of those had a blood alcohol level of at least 0.1 percent.  Venomous snakes don’t deserve their bad rap.  They’re only trying to defend themselves from idiots with no common sense.

We released our guy on the trail and watched it crawl away into the palmettos; what looks like such a striking pattern against the solid background of the container blended in seamlessly with the forest floor.  I wish it well.

7 thoughts on “The Only Good Snake?”

  1. That’s really a beautiful snake. Wish I could find something like that around here.

    I was once talking to some people who thought venomous snakes should be hunted down and eliminated because of the danger they posed to people. I pointed out that the likelihood of being killed in a car crash was many, many times greater than getting bitten by a snake, let alone dying from the bite. I asked why they weren’t suggesting we get rid of cars. They thought I was being completely ridiculous.

  2. It is beautiful. I had a bit of amusement at the specificity of the label on the box. “EASTERN DIAMONDBACK rattlesnake, mind you! Now if it was some other kind of rattler, we wouldn’t be so concerned.”

  3. Seems like it’s snake season :-)
    This is a great photo; I’ve never seen one. I’m interested in the fact that this was coaxed into a bucket with a broom. I’m sorry you didn’t get to see the capture too. I’d always heard that the Eastern Diamondback was aggressive but your report suggests that this may not always be the case.

  4. UGh.

    I appreciate the biology. And think snakes are cool. But i still get the heeby-jeebies from them. Albeit, not as bad as I used to. I stopped screaming after the 15th garter snake I happened across in Grasslands…

    1. Yeah, I remember your garter snake phobia! Remember when Emily found a hognosed snake and took some photos of it? That was sweet… and I don’t think you were with us when we found the dying prairie rattler in the road, which was sad but really cool.

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