There are few animals as feared and as hated as the snake. Many campers and summer tourists fear encountering snakes during the summer months. Others dread seeing them in their residential yards or gardens. Some people hate snakes so much that they will kill them on sight when they are encountered. However, people truly have nothing to fear from these gentle and misunderstood animals. Snakes are very shy, timid, secretive, and generally docile creatures that try to avoid conflict whenever possible. Snakes will not make unprovoked attacks on people. When a person comes in contact with a snake, the snakes' first instinct will be to rapidly flee the area and find shelter. If the snake doesn't do this, it may just stay perfectly still to try to blend in with the surroundings. If the snake is captured it may still not resort to biting; proof of its gentle demeanor. The snake has several other tactics it can resort to as an alternative to biting. The snake may hiss, make mock strikes with a closed mouth, or flail around.
Snakes bites on humans usually only happen when someone is severely agitating and harassing the snake either when cornering it or provoking it. Almost 80% of snake bites on people happen when someone is trying to capture or kill the snake. All these facts show that snakes are not aggressive or evil animals. If you provoke and capture a wild animal, what can you expect except to be bitten since the animal is going to try to defend itself? Looking at things perceptively, if you went and grabbed a 'cute and cuddly' little squirrel off a tree it would certainly bite and scratch you. Snakes are no different. If you leave the snake alone it is almost impossible to be hurt by one!
The other percent of people bitten are those who may accidentally step on a snake in the wild. These bites could also have been easily avoided if care is taking to be as aware as possible when hiking in natural areas and to carefully watch your step. Even if a person is bitten by a snake; for non-venomous snakes the bite is nothing more then a few puncture wounds that rarely requires any more then a disinfectant. When a venomous snake bites a person there is a good chance that the snake didn't even inject venom. Snakes have venom first and foremost to subdue there prey, since they don't have arms to hold onto it, a means of subduing prey is necessary. The venom also helps the snake digest its meal. When the venom is injected it helps to break the prey down for the snake since snakes don't chew there food, but swallow it whole. We are too big for snakes to eat so the snakes will not want to waste their venom on biting us. Even if the snake does inject venom, proper medical treatment and anti-venom can usually save the persons life.
Only about 0.2% of people bitten by snakes in United States die from the bite. Of this small number of deaths, 90% are due to shock, not the actual bite. Similar stats apply to Australia which is home to over 60 kinds of potently venomous snakes. It is estimated to be even less in Europe. As said before, these bites could have easily been avoided. If you do encounter a snake just walk around it and leave it alone, it will not harm you in anyway. It is very easy to co-exist with these reptiles; snakes should also not be viewed as our enemies but our friends.
Snakes do many useful things for people. First off snakes are great controllers of rodents like rats and mice. Without snakes rodents and some insect populations would sky-rockets and these creatures would destroy crops, effecting our food industries and costing us millions of dollars. Rodents also spread diseases which could seriously affect our health. Snakes are great at hunting rodents because they can crawl into small burrows and other areas these rodents use as shelters. These places are too small for other animals to get into. Secondly snakes are saving the lives of millions of people every year. Snake venom is being used in the medical field to treat all sorts of aliments like heart & stroke disease, cancer, Parkinson's, blood clots, and more. Heart and stroke disease alone kills around 16 million people every year. So snakes are helping to make medicine that could save millions. Despite this, countless snakes are brutally killed every year by people! There are now over 60 species of snake listed on the World Conservation Union's Red List of Threatened Species.
We must look past our fear and ignorance and see snakes for what they really are, interesting creatures that play very important roles in the eco-system. Snakes are also stunningly beautiful animals that come in an astounding array of gorgeous colors and exquisite patterns. A fear of snakes is inherent, so we must learn not to pass our irrational fears onto our children. It is an awful thing to live in fear. When we look past our fear we can then see the snake as a friend, not a fiend.
I hope everyone that reads this will take the time to pass it along to others. Snakes have no voice in which to speak. This makes it important for those who do care to stand up and speak for those who cannot do it for themselves! Let others know how the snake is our friend, not a fiend!
NOTE: Even if you do not like snakes it is important to not harass or kill them. Most snakes in Ontario are listed as a "specially protected reptile" under the Ontario Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, which makes it illegal for them to be killed, trapped, held in captivity, or traded without a permit. Many other snakes also receive protection under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA).
U.S. Food and Drug Administration(O.2% of bites result in death)
N.C State University Study 'Avoiding Snake Bites'(80% of bites occur from trying to capture or kill the snake)
Discovery Kids Ultimate Guide to the Awesome(90% of deaths are due to shock, not the bite)