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msmike1

Why do we fear snakes?

93 posts in this topic

Fear of snakes is one of the most common phobias, yet many people have never seen a snake in person. So how is this fear generated?

http://www.livescience.com/2348-fear-snakes.html

I don't understand the fear myself. I love snakes, they are one of the most awesome creatures in nature. Venomous, non-venomous, small, large, I don't care I love them all. I grew up in a home that killed every snake they saw, but I never thought that was right. When other kids were reading kids books, I was reading books about snakes, lizards, frogs, turtles, etc... Even though all I heard growing up was how deadly they were, and was taught to fear them, it never stuck. I just refused to believe it and I still don't at 35yrs old. Because of this I don't think it is a taught fear, I think it is something else, or maybe it has to do with how independent a child is, how much of a free thinker, I don't know. Anyway, I have spent the better part of my life trying to understand snakes better, learning as much about them as I could. I think ignorance of the animal plays the biggest part, we as humans are scared of what we don't understand.

Mike

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So you are not scared of an Anaconda and even if it ate your dog?

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A love for a special groups of animals, in your case snakes, lizards, frogs etc, is normal and is no more odd than cat-lovers.

But it is a fact that a majority of the snakes in this world are poisonous or can injure a human being pretty severely.

So the initial thought might not to kill everything you see that snake around, but more likely just stay clear of them.

Healthy respect.

But there are a crapload of people who have loved snakes, lived with snakes, worked with snakes who didnt think (or at least ignored the safety) they could hurt them.

They were wrong, and dead because of it.

The last one was Mack Wolford, the rattlesnake pastor, who thought God was going to save him from the venom.

Another one was the Swede in Australia that was crushed to death by his python:

"Crushed by Pet Python

By SAM RICHES and BRYAN LITTLELY

May 02, 2005

Brisbane Courier Mail

POLICE suspect a pet snake is responsible for the death of a man found yesterday in his Tanunda home.

The body of professional snake handler Erik Attmarrsson was discovered at his Mattiske Rd property by a work colleague from nearby Venom Supplies.

Police said marks on the face of the 28-year-old, from Sweden, could be consistent with being crushed to death by a snake he kept in an enclosure at the property.

Officers were searching for his pet Queensland native scrub python, which can grow to an average of about 5m, because it had disappeared from its secure enclosure.

Love your snakes, but never trust your snakes.

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Why do store pretend that they are selling clothes at a deal? Why do people buy jeans that are already torn up? Why do the teenagers of today think that the 80s are worth reliving? These are the many mysteries of the universe.

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I have interacted with snakes before. They don't bother me. I have a healthy respect for the venomous kind and don't wish to interact with them. I watch Swamp Wars (I think that's the name of the show) on Animal Planet all the time. It makes me giggle to see grown men go nuts over snakes. LOL

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I agree with them, it is an instinct. As children grow you can either foster it or you can teach them not to fear.

I wouldn't keep a snake as a pet, but I'm not afraid of them, I respect them. Some of them can hurt you pretty bad. When you spend time in rattle snake country you learn to carry a stick, not to kill. but to worn the snake you're coming or to block if needed. Kind of like wearing a bell in bear country. Most animals attack when spooked.

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Posted (edited)

A love for a special groups of animals, in your case snakes, lizards, frogs etc, is normal and is no more odd than cat-lovers.

But it is a fact that a majority of the snakes in this world are poisonous or can injure a human being pretty severely.

So the initial thought might not to kill everything you see that snake around, but more likely just stay clear of them.

Healthy respect.

But there are a crapload of people who have loved snakes, lived with snakes, worked with snakes who didnt think (or at least ignored the safety) they could hurt them.

They were wrong, and dead because of it.

The last one was Mack Wolford, the rattlesnake pastor, who thought God was going to save him from the venom.

Another one was the Swede in Australia that was crushed to death by his python:

Love your snakes, but never trust your snakes.

You need to re-check your facts. It is people like you that post things which they know nothing about that lead people down the wrong path. The vast majority of the snakes in this world are harmless. The percentage of snakes that can do serious harm to a human is rather small compared to the number that are harmless. Before you post completely false information and then state it as fact, do a little research next time. Can snakes harm us, well yes, some can and if you do not respect them for it, that is your fault. Also, I would like to know exactly how many a "Crapload" is.

NO, I am not scared of an anaconda, in fact that is one snake that is on my wishlist to interact with. I would love to travel to the Amazon and find one in the wild. They are awesome creatures but should be respected. Their ability to reach very large sizes makes them dangerous.

Everyone should have a healthy respect for any venomous animal, snakes included, but one word of warning about these shows such as Swamp Wars and the such that come on Animal Planet or whatever station. I watch them purely for entertainment purposes. They are full of wrong handling practices, sensationalism, and false information. Some of it is correct, but some isn't. Please don't listen to everything you see on TV.

Clothes are very rarely a deal, I despise seeing a new pair of jeans that is already torn up and in my opinion anyone who buys them isn't that intelligent to begin with, and the 80's wasn't all that good considering the clothes, hair, and music.

Mike

Just for clarification, only about a quarter of all species of snakes are venomous. Also, no snake on earth is poisonous. They are venomous, there is a difference. Venom has to be injected, or introduced into the blood stream to be dangerous. Poisons can be absorbed through the skin, ingested, etc...

Edited by msmike1
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So you're saying the authorities on that show aren't really authorities? That branch of the Miami-Dade fire department doesn't exist?

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Posted (edited)

So you are not scared of an Anaconda and even if it ate your dog?

There is a difference between being scared of something in the way you are saying and having a proper fear or phobia.

Edited by Coffey

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We had a Red Tailed Boa for quite a few years..." Damien "....Had a very large custom tank built for him.We all ways treat animals better than people.

Bought him at about 17 inch's....Cute little thing, fed him " pinkies ".....Watched him grow, took him out all the time, started to feed 2 large rats a week ( dead, not good to feed a snake live animals, infections, etc. )....

My mom would not visit us with that snake there, even in another room, in a large tank, door closed.....

We ended up selling that house to move to another, and we gave the snake to a herpatologist, one we new would take good care of him....He was over 7 feet when we gave him away.

What we learned.....

Snakes, and other reptiles should not be " pets ", they belong in the wild, where they can roam and live their lives.....Not confined in a tank for people to show off.

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So you're saying the authorities on that show aren't really authorities? That branch of the Miami-Dade fire department doesn't exist?

No not at all, they are very real and they do exist. I am sure they do a fine job as well. All I am saying is that anytime they take something like that group, and put them on T.V, especially Animal Planet which is one of the worst channels for sensationalism for ratings, there is a certain amount of untruths or sensationalism that goes along with it to make it more interesting to viewers. Maybe it's the words used to describe an animal like saying the "vicious" python had to be removed from the area before it "attacked" someone. You see what I mean. I watch the show quite often, and it can be entertaining, you just have to know what is true and what is for TV.

Also, Coffey, you are correct in every way. Being frightened of an animal because you were taught to be, no matter how ridiculous it might be is completely different from having a true phobia of something. My wife has a horrible phobia of big grasshoppers. Yeah, I'm not kidding, she loves all creatures and is even a permitted wildlife rehabilitator, but will hurt you and herself trying to get away from a freakin grasshopper.

Mike

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why would anyone be afraid of a snake? if it's a huge man eater in the jungle i could see that, but your average garter snake is no one's enemy. in fact they're rather cool

i'm more curious though about people who are afraid of spiders. and there are a LOT of them out there all ages!

it's a frikken spider. step on it if you feel threatened for gawd sake.

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Posted (edited)

We had a Red Tailed Boa for quite a few years..." Damien "....Had a very large custom tank built for him.We all ways treat animals better than people.

Bought him at about 17 inch's....Cute little thing, fed him " pinkies ".....Watched him grow, took him out all the time, started to feed 2 large rats a week ( dead, not good to feed a snake live animals, infections, etc. )....

My mom would not visit us with that snake there, even in another room, in a large tank, door closed.....

We ended up selling that house to move to another, and we gave the snake to a herpatologist, one we new would take good care of him....He was over 7 feet when we gave him away.

What we learned.....

Snakes, and other reptiles should not be " pets ", they belong in the wild, where they can roam and live their lives.....Not confined in a tank for people to show off.

I love red-tailed boas, they are very beautiful snakes. Normally very docile as well. Some of the sub-species can be a little nippy when young, but generally grow out of it quickly. As far as the snakes not meant to be pets, I agree and disagree. I agree that any animal really needs to be left in the wild, and being a lover of nature and somewhat of a conservationist I agree with you. One thing to keep in mind though, is that very few of the snakes in the pet trade today are wild caught, or even wild hatched or bred. This wasn't always the case and I disagree with that practice in every way form and fasion. Today, however, most, not all, but most of the snakes in the pet trade are captive bred animals that have never seen the wild and would die if returned to it. I own snakes, I love them, and they are pampered completely, they were never in the wild and were completely captive bred animals. One aspect of the reptile pet trade that I don't agree with is that a lot of breeders will sell whatever to anybody. A 15 yr old kid does not need to own a burmese python. Some breeders are very iresponsible and should not be allowed to practice. It blows my mind that I can get off of this site and go straight to another and order a King Cobra. These are the aspects of the reptile pet trade that need to be looked at. Tighter restrictions on who can buy what, what is imported, from where, and absolutely no wild caught or hatched animals at all. Some states are taking a stance on this and I think it is a good thing.

Back to the fear of snakes, I really think that if people would trully educate themselves on snakes, how to identify different types, which ones are venomous and which are not, the habits of the snakes in their generally area and what types are located there. I believe education on snakes is really the key to curing the fear.

Mike

Edited by msmike1
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I'll admit, I hate snakes. They're creepy, crawly, and just plain look evil. Long slithery serpents with poison flowing through their veins.

I kill everyone of them I see.

( Plus, if one of them ever made it into the house, the wife would go berzerk )

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I just want to add an announcement.. Those of you who have lost your boa, python, or anaconda we have it here in the Florida Everglades National Park. Please come and retrieve it. It is killing our wildlife.

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I love red-tailed boas, they are very beautiful snakes. Normally very docile as well. Some of the sub-species can be a little nippy when young, but generally grow out of it quickly. As far as the snakes not meant to be pets, I agree and disagree. I agree that any animal really needs to be left in the wild, and being a lover of nature and somewhat of a conservationist I agree with you. One thing to keep in mind though, is that very few of the snakes in the pet trade today are wild caught, or even wild hatched or bred. This wasn't always the case and I disagree with that practice in every way form and fasion. Today, however, most, not all, but most of the snakes in the pet trade are captive bred animals that have never seen the wild and would die if returned to it. I own snakes, I love them, and they are pampered completely, they were never in the wild and were completely captive bred animals. One aspect of the reptile pet trade that I don't agree with is that a lot of breeders will sell whatever to anybody. A 15 yr old kid does not need to own a burmese python. Some breeders are very iresponsible and should not be allowed to practice. It blows my mind that I can get off of this site and go straight to another and order a King Cobra. These are the aspects of the reptile pet trade that need to be looked at. Tighter restrictions on who can buy what, what is imported, from where, and absolutely no wild caught or hatched animals at all. Some states are taking a stance on this and I think it is a good thing.

Back to the fear of snakes, I really think that if people would trully educate themselves on snakes, how to identify different types, which ones are venomous and which are not, the habits of the snakes in their generally area and what types are located there. I believe education on snakes is really the key to curing the fear.

Mike

Very good points..... :tu:

I just want to add an announcement.. Those of you who have lost your boa, python, or anaconda we have it here in the Florida Everglades National Park. Please come and retrieve it. It is killing our wildlife.

I believe a lot of those were " released " during a Hurricane, pet stores, zoo's, etc....Not released, but " escaped ". ( and some idiot, irresponsible people )

It is also believed that when several destructive hurricanes stuck Florida that some of these snakes escaped from local pet stores never to be caught...

http://www.snake-removal.com/burmesepythonflorida.html

Pythons are believed to have been introduced to the swamps of Florida by pet owners who decided to free their imported reptiles into the wild. Some of the snakes have been traced back to reptiles that escaped after Hurricane Andrew swept through the area in 1992.............

http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/jan2012/2012-01-17-091.html

It is a bad thing for sure :

In the remote southernmost regions of the 1.5 million-acre national park, researchers could find no marsh or cottontail rabbits or foxes. In those same areas, the raccoon population has declined 99.3%, the opossum population 98.9%, and the bobcat population 87.5%, the researchers reported.

Those animals are often found in the stomachs of Burmese pythons captured in the Everglades, the researchers said.

http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2012/01/31/pythons-wiping-out-mammals-in-everglades-researchers-say/

Don't blame the snakes though.....They do need to be taken out of there, but I doubt that can happen.

I hate when invasive species are brought in, and kill off native species.....Makes me sick, I am a avid Salmon fisherman ( and other fish ) and understand the consequences.

Humans are a cancer, we destroy everything one way or another.......

Anyway, back on topic.

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Posted (edited)

I'll admit, I hate snakes. They're creepy, crawly, and just plain look evil. Long slithery serpents with poison flowing through their veins.

I kill everyone of them I see.

( Plus, if one of them ever made it into the house, the wife would go berzerk )

That is a very narrow minded way of thinking. To you they may look evil, but does that mean that they are? Not at all. You say they have poison flowing through their veins, well in my state we have around 40 different species of snakes and out of that 40, 6 of them are venomous. So no, they don't have poison flowing through their veins. By killing everyone of them that you see, you are being very narrow minded, as well as playing the human part Sakari eludes to very well. We as humans are have huge egos, and if you don't like something, or better yet in this case it seems don't understand something then you just kill it. Not very intelligent if you ask me. Why don't you try educating yourself on the different species of snakes you have in your area, find out how to identify them, know which ones are harmless and which ones are not. Besides a vast majority of all snake bites happen because the person was trying to either catch it, or kill it. It doesn't have legs, it can't really move that fast either. It can't launch itself into the air and bite you. If you are so scared of them then why risk getting close enough to kill it? Seriously, try educating yourself on something and taking the intelligent road instead of just killing everything you are scared of and don't like.

Mike

Also, Darkwind, South Florida is the invasive capital of the world. Some of the invasives were released by irresponsible pet owners, but I don't really think a few people releasing their snakes caused the outbreak of invasives in Florida. As Sakari pointed out they have basically figured out that the vast majority of them were released during the hurricane, but Florida has more problems than the Burmese python, a few boas, and a few anacondas, the later isn't proven to be breeding as is chalked up to a few rare instances. Between the iguanas, pythons, tagua lizards, nile monitors, 3ft long rats, and whatever else they have roaming around down there, they have a real problem. it is disgusting to think about. Such a beautiful and fragile habitat. The good thing is that the last cold winter down in South Florida did kill a large portion of the pythons and such. Yes, there are some left, but mother nature took care of a lot of them.

Mike

Edited by msmike1
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Posted (edited)

I am scared of Grizzly Bears and I have never seen one. I think it has a little something to do with preserving ones self.

Not ever seen the attraction to snakes as pets. Not like you can take one for a walk, or sit it on your lap for a pat or anything. Some might have some pretty colours, but so do the birds that sit on my windowsill. It seems more like a private zoo to me.

I read about a guy not all that long ago who kept snakes spiders and all manner of creepy crawlies in his apartment as pets. He died of a heart attack, and when they found the body, the "pets" had been healthily feasting on the corpse. Just not for me.

Edited by psyche101
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I am scared of Grizzly Bears and I have never seen one. I think it has a little something to do with preserving ones self.

Not ever seen the attraction to snakes as pets. Not like you can take one for a walk, or sit it on your lap for a pat or anything. Some might have some pretty colours, but so do the birds that sit on my windowsill. It seems more like a private zoo to me.

I read about a guy not all that long ago who kept snakes spiders and all manner of creepy crawlies in his apartment as pets. He died of a heart attack, and when they found the body, the "pets" had been healthily feasting on the corpse. Just not for me.

You read a urban legend psyche :)

Spiders and snakes do not eat people...I remember that story. ( if it is the same one )

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I find snakes very interesting creatures. Did you know that snake poison contains 90% protein? And that they smell with their tongues while humans with their noses? And not to even mention their skin, I'd like to have one of those, if only possible, LOL.

I think the fear of snake is more acquired from generation to generation basing on what it`s been said about them. This is why it didn`t matter if people have seen actual snakes or not, they still fear them. The fact is, you`ll never know until you actually experience something with a snake itself. :-)

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A snake in the domestic environment as a pet is a much different experience than finding a lethal snake resting on your bed as happened to me in India many years ago. Subjugated animals instil a sense of control in us. Unsubjugated animals instil a sense of fear. Without this fear their would be many more deaths caused by animals capable of inflicting injury and death. Some animals however run contrary to this logic. Cats for instance will always go for a snake, right from your pet Tabby to a Lion in the Serengeti. Dogs however, Dingos,Wolves ect and even Pit bulls will always avoid them!

Chickens and Rabbits will freeze and not bat an eyelid. If you put a rubber snake in-front of a Chicken or even a piece of rope it will not move as long as it is their. It would stand until it fell over dead!

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Posted (edited)

A snake in the domestic environment as a pet is a much different experience than finding a lethal snake resting on your bed as happened to me in India many years ago. Subjugated animals instil a sense of control in us. Unsubjugated animals instil a sense of fear. Without this fear their would be many more deaths caused by animals capable of inflicting injury and death. Some animals however run contrary to this logic. Cats for instance will always go for a snake, right from your pet Tabby to a Lion in the Serengeti. Dogs however, Dingos,Wolves ect and even Pit bulls will always avoid them!

Chickens and Rabbits will freeze and not bat an eyelid. If you put a rubber snake in-front of a Chicken or even a piece of rope it will not move as long as it is their. It would stand until it fell over dead!

Dogs do not avoid them.There are training facilities to train dogs to avoid rattle snakes.No idea where you got that information from.

Putting out bad information can harm someone, or someones pet...... :no:

Rattlesnake aversion training has been shown to be safe and effective in helping to prevent an envenomation by a rattlesnake. Aversion training teaches your dog to avoid the sight, sound and smell of rattlesnakes. NONE of the snakes used for rattlesnake aversion training are harmed during the training process. Our snakes are muzzled to ensure the safety of your dog and our trainers. During the rattlesnake training, your dog is led by a handler up to live rattlesnakes. We use live snakes because nothing moves, smells or sounds like a rattlesnake but a real rattlesnake. Your dog is taught aversive behavior using a low level stimulus from a "shock collar". All of the training is personally conducted by, Ryan Folse DVM or Melanie Barton, Certified Animal Behaviorist.

dog_in_training.jpg

Edited by Sakari

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I also wonder why so many people fear them. My husband and I have been trying to encourage our community to stop killing snakes just for exsisting. Here in Florida there are many species of water snakes that are non venomous yet people kill them because they think they are cotton mouths. These snakes are actually as harmless as a lizard. And there is a movement to put the diamond back rattlesnake on the protected list in florida because so many people have been killing them on sight and actually hunting them down just to kill groups of them.

I'll admite I had my husband kill a rattlesnake in my yard before because I had little kids running around, however knowing what I know now about the ecosystem in Florida I would not kill a snake. And I have unknowingly been right next to a rattlesnake before he had a chance to bite, I think that they are a lot less agressive than their reputation. They just want to be left alone.

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Dogs do not avoid them.There are training facilities to train dogs to avoid rattle snakes.No idea where you got that information from.

Putting out bad information can harm someone, or someones pet...... :no:

Rattlesnake aversion training has been shown to be safe and effective in helping to prevent an envenomation by a rattlesnake. Aversion training teaches your dog to avoid the sight, sound and smell of rattlesnakes. NONE of the snakes used for rattlesnake aversion training are harmed during the training process. Our snakes are muzzled to ensure the safety of your dog and our trainers. During the rattlesnake training, your dog is led by a handler up to live rattlesnakes. We use live snakes because nothing moves, smells or sounds like a rattlesnake but a real rattlesnake. Your dog is taught aversive behavior using a low level stimulus from a "shock collar". All of the training is personally conducted by, Ryan Folse DVM or Melanie Barton, Certified Animal Behaviorist.

dog_in_training.jpg

There are always exceptions to the rule. The rattlers do attract dogs on account of their sound. Did you know that a dog switches between his visual and aural fields. When a pointer hears the pray he cant see it, the ears perk up and he determines the position of the pray with his ears. When this happens his visual field takes over and he runs for it. Look at a dog chasing sheep,stop, listen, attack! Ever seen a stupid dog run into a wall? He was listening when he should of been looking a dog cant do both at the same time!

PS Why so rude?

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Posted (edited)

They all have the right to live..im just glad they dont live in my country(except the little adder,grass snakes)...

Edited by BrianPotter

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