Today, February 1st, is National Serpent Day. Of course, not everyone is going to want to celebrate snakes. However, that’s really why this observation day is needed. Snakes serve a crucial role in the environment. Unfortunately, they are often misunderstood. As your Cedar Rapids, IA veterinarian, I list some reasons to celebrate snakes in this article.
Did you know that there are over 3000 types of snakes in the world? These vary in length, from the itty-bitty Barbados Thread snake to the massive Reticulated Python, which can grow over 20 feet long. Snakes are found on every continent except Antarctica.
They Control Rodents
Like every other animal, from the tiniest insect to the largest mammal, snakes play an integral role in the world. Their biggest job? Eating mice, rats, and other vermin. Given that rodents contaminate food stores, damage wires and buildings, and spread disease, this is definitely something to appreciate. Snakes also serve as food for other animals, including eagles, owls, and foxes.
Snakes have been plagued by bad PR since, well, the first few pages of the Bible. Unfortunately for them, they have been conflated with evil in many different cultures. It is understandable that they do need to be taken seriously, as some snake bites can be deadly. However, the vast majority of them are non-venomous. And, while some snakes, such as the Black Mamba, are aggressive, most are quite shy, and will only bite if provoked.
Fortunately, not all of the myths associated with serpents are bad. Snakes are also associated with fertility, rebirth, transformation, and healing. Of course, there are also some rather silly superstitions about them. One of the oddest? A belief that snakes always travel in pairs, and that if you kill one, its mate will come after you.
Ok, to be fair, adorable probably isn’t going to be the first word that comes to mind if you happen across a rattlesnake. However, if you actually look at snakes—also sometimes called Nope Ropes or Danger Noodles—they are quite pretty in their own way. Snakes sport a wide variety of pretty colors and patterns, from camouflage-like earth tones to vibrant blues, yellows, and purples. A properly set up habitat can also make an interesting and unique addition to your home.
Do you have questions about snake care? Contact me, your local Cedar Rapids, IA veterinarian, today!