Why has mankind been so afraid of snakes? Perhaps it is the limbless body, the reptilian scales, or the cold-bloodlessness. Maybe, for some, it is the possibility of being assailed by its fangs. Whatever the reason, people aren’t adopting snakes into their household. They aren’t, and probably will never be, labeled as
man’s best friend; the more likely consensus is that they’re one of man’s worst enemies (below sharks, at least.) Look into the pop cultural iconography of snake movies: Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Art, Anaconda, or even the shamelessly comical Snakes on a plane— the reptiles have been stereotyped as producers of terror, inflictors of pain, robbers of life. Yes, there are some snakes that are truly dangerous, but the entire species needn’t be pigeonholed as predators. Through cinema, television, and the general media, we have been subjected to the osmosis of snake intolerance, a psychological allergy spurred by misinformation and hyperbole. In terms of other animals and species, it’s best to establish your preferences on facts rather than fear. Who knows, with a little knowledge and effort, you may decide to adopt a snake as pet (or it may reinforce your trepidation.)
They are carnivorous: Seeing that all snakes eat meat, this is likely to invoke fear to those who have snake phobias. Their jaws allows them to devour prey that is much larger than them (the anaconda, for instance, can devour an entire crocodile.) An interesting fact is that snakes don’t need to eat every day. By human standards, most would say that they have an uneven diet; many snakes can survive without eating for a few months. Another interesting fact is that snakes don’t taste the prey they eat (it can handle devouring something that is terribly disgusting.) Their tongues are utilized for “smelling” their prey (that is why you see them flash it out often.)
There are over 3000 types of snakes: Yes, your eyes did not lie– there are thousands of different kinds of snakes. From the small thread snakes (most being 2-10 inches) to the reticulated pythons (up to 30 feet in length), it’s safe to say snakes have variety.
They see and hear differently: Snakes don’t have typical eyesight and vision. They merely see the heat of an object and the movements of the heat. Additionally, their hearing diverges from other animals (they have no ears.) They hear through vibrations; so, if you screamed at the top of your lungs, it may not notice. However, if their aural senses receives signals of vibrations, then the source of it will be detected by the snake.
Many snakes attack in self defense: This is probably a surprise to some, but snakes are as scared of humans as we are of them, if not more so. Usually, if a snake attacks a human, especially a small one that cannot swallow someone whole, it’s because they are acting out of self defense, out of their own trepidation.
Snakes Can’t Learn: While snakes are incredibly clever and crafty, many scientists have claimed that snakes have no capacity to learn, that they react to things intuitively. Although snakes have shown glimpses of intelligence (reptiles can produce more brain cells than a human, after all), they survive on their instinct. This is not to say, however, that snakes cannot love. If you ever intend to take in a snake as a pet, if the snake is amiable (i.e harmless), then it can definitely feel a closeness to its owner. Do research, combat ignorance, and you will always find something interesting about this order of reptiles.