- Special Sections
- Public Notices
Snakes alive! Otowi Station, Snake Conservation and the Bradbury Science
Museum are collaborating for a presentation and demonstration at 1:30 p.m.
Wednesday in the breezeway between Otowi Station and the Bradbury Science
Museum. Visitors can see all kinds of beautiful snakes, learn the part they
play in our environment, and get an exclusive deal on a Snake Sack, which
contains a guidebook, a notebook for recording the kinds of snakes they
observe, a pencil and a museum-quality replica of a snake.
The Bradbury Science Museum will feature videos about snakes from 10 a.m.-5
p.m. and have some special exhibits about snakes.
Snakes are often hated and feared. Many are even killed for no clear reason.
But there are definitely reasons to keep snakes around your home or garden.
They can keep in check pests like rats and mice, which are vectors for such
diseases as Hantavirus and the plague. And some species that are harmless to
people prey on venomous snakes, reducing the chance of a deadly encounter.
A worker at a Florida dog kennel learned the hard way about the importance
of snakes. He noticed dozens of snakes living in the rafters and crevices,
and decided the reptiles had to go. Working systematically, he killed them
until none were left.
Then came the plague of rats.
The rat population exploded, a state biologist reported. It took two
years, hundreds of people-hours, and thousands of dollars to get control of
the rats and repair the structural damage. This does not include the
hundreds of pounds of dog food that the rats ate or contaminated. The
economic cost of removing the rats natural predators was obvious.
Not every snake eats every pest. Instead, many have evolved to feed on
specific prey. Gopher snakes (also called bullsnakes), for instance, mostly
prey on rodents, but also eat birds, eggs and some lizards. Rubber boas are
known to feed on other snakes, mice, birds and lizards, as well as worms,
slugs and insects. The hognose snake, famous for its ability to puff up in
order to scare off attackers and then play dead if it doesnt work, eats
toads. Small snakes, such as green snakes, garter snakes and ring-necked
snakes, hunt insects.
Of course, even the humblest snake may hiss, coil, puff up or bite if
confronted by a person. Indeed, these behaviors can scare people and
endanger the snake. But if you encounter a snake, biologists say the best
thing to do is leave it alone.
There are many reasons for protecting snakes. They play an important role in
controlling many yard and garden pests. Also, snake venom has been used in
the development of many human medicines for blood and heart problems.
Regardless of their direct benefits to us, all snakes have an important role
in nature. They are a link in the chain of life and if one link is
destroyed, the whole system may weaken and be jeopardized.
Biologists from Snake Conservation are spreading the word about the good
points of scaly predators in a bid to protect these important predators.
Become part of the snake conservation team.