- Many Texans see snakes as something to be feared, unfortunately believing that “the only good snake is a dead snake”. It is not uncommon, after spotting a snake, for citizens to feel that it is necessary to follow and kill the snake.
- Hunts such as rattlesnake roundups damage our environment and teach a violent message. During the notorious Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup, hunters pump gasoline into the ground to drive snakes out of their dens. Snakes are then beheaded, skinned, and eaten. This year, children were able to place their hands in a bucket of snake blood, and then sign their bloody handprint on a wall. An event that attracts visitors from across the world, Sweetwater’s Rattlesnake Roundup gives the impression that Texans have a very negative relationship with our wildlife. Read Amber Smith’s recent article for an in-depth look at the harm that these roundups pose to biodiversity.
- Unlearning misconceptions and prejudices about snakes is one way to create a more snake-friendly Texas. We plan to focus on teaching children, before they develop a hard-to-break fear of snakes.
- Part of these educational efforts will include snake safety tips! Kids growing up around people who fear snakes may not know much about snake behavior. We can show kids examples of areas that snakes are likely to hide, and explain that they should not play near these areas. Further, we can teach them to leave snakes alone if they encounter one in the wild.
- Teaching efforts can foster a healthy respect for snakes in the public eye. We hope that the more people know about the animal, the less they will fear it.
- We are excited to work with people who love snakes, and share our enthusiasm with those who don’t.
As always, thanks for saving snakes with us!