PEOPLE DESERVE IT WHEN SNAKES STRIKE BACK
October 20, 2013
excuse yet another column about snakes, but when I saw the following
headline in the Orlando Sentinel, "Man aims at snake, shoots friend
instead," I thought, oh, I must. Yet another story to add to the
collection demonstrating why people should adopt a live-and-let-live
of the story is that three 18- to 21-year-old men stopped their pickup
truck alongside a road near Orlando. It was nighttime and one of them
needed to "answer the call of nature." Meanwhile, one of the
others was not paying attention to his friend's whereabouts when he
saw a big snake crossing the road. Upon hearing a sound in the brush,
he grabbed a semiautomatic rifle and fired away. Unfortunately, his
companion was the one making the noise. The end of the story is that
one person was treated for a bullet wound to the leg, everyone is presumably
a bit embarrassed, and the snake is long gone. The following are four
more previously reported stories, all true, of human snake encounters
that provide further evidence for why people should be a bit more tolerant
of all creatures great and small, including snakes.
involved a man armed with a rifle who encountered a snake in a forest.
Apparently not wanting to waste ammunition on so lowly a creature but
nonetheless wanting to kill it (never mind that there is no rational
reason for killing a snake in a forest), the man began crushing the
snake's head with the butt of his rifle. A dying snake of course begins
to thrash and curl around. As the snake squirmed, its tail reached the
trigger and squeezed. To paraphrase the famous editorial maxim: Man
shoots snake is not news. Snake shoots man is. Another incident occurred
in Mississippi. A man with a double barreled shotgun saw a snake crawling
around one of his outbuildings. As the snake slid alongside a box in
the doorway, the man pulled the first trigger of the shotgun. He did
not pull the second trigger. The snake was dead. The man was dead, too,
and the building was gone. The box in the doorway was a case of dynamite.
End of story.
widely publicized incident took place in Alabama, where two alcohol
laden citizens tossed a canebrake rattlesnake back and forth in what
turned out to be a lethal game of hot potato. The rattlesnake crawled
away safely after biting one of the participants, who died before proper
medical treatment could be administered.
may prefer the outcome of this last story because no people were injured
or killed. Believing her mobile home was infested with snakes, a South
Carolina woman decided to sprinkle sulfur around the area to keep snakes
away. No credible evidence exists to show that sulfur is a deterrent
to snakes that are roaming around in the wild, but she put the smelly
stuff out anyway. Then she went one step further. She filled pots with
sulfur, placed them under the trailer, and set them on fire. Sulfur
stinks without any help from fire; burning sulfur smells like rotten
if snakes care much one way or another about the smell of rotten eggs,
but can you imagine what the mobile home smelled like? In fact, had
she not accidentally burned the trailer to the ground, the snakes would
probably have continued to live there, even though no person would cross
the threshold while the smell of burning sulfur lingered.
who conquer their irrational attitudes about snakes and other wildlife
enjoy the outdoor world far more than those who live in fear of stepping
outside. It bears repeating that no U.S. venomous snake will attack
a person without provocation, and the fundamental rule for someone who
does not like snakes is to leave them alone. Surely the factual stories
recounted above offer proof that live and let live is generally the
best policy - at least as far as snakes are concerned.
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