Aren’t all those wildflowers beautiful this year? My pastures are full of these multicolored weeds, but I enjoy seeing them. I also enjoy cruising down my Facebook page, looking at pictures of Texas in springtime. Unfortunately, you also see posts of all the snakes that appear this time of year. And on every one of these posts, somebody, often several people, will comment, “I hope you didn’t kill it.”
I figure most folks who make these comments have never had the misfortune of seeing a venomous snake up close and personal. They probably have never seen necrotic tissue spreading up a snakebite victim’s leg. These folks probably never buried a family pet who got too close to a rattlesnake. These people probably never had to throw out a good pair of drawers after seeing a rattler within striking distance of your leg. I’m just guessing here, but I suspect the people who post comments like “Please don’t kill it” or “They are so beautiful” are city dwellers and not country folks.
I’m a bit old-school who was taught at a young age that rattlesnakes and other venomous snakes are “bad”. I reckon I was told this by my elders who might’ve lost friends, family members or pets from a snake bite. Nowadays, we have antitoxin that will hopefully save your life but not a large chunk of skin, tissue and nerves. So, do I still think snakes are bad? Hmm? Let me ponder over this for a nano-second.
Living out here on a ranch, I have had numerous encounters with rattlesnakes. When I moved back to the Buda area in 20 B.C. (Before Cabelas), we had huge rattlesnakes all over the ranch. I’m talking about 6-footers packing enough venom to kill a man. Not once did we see a coiled rattler and say, “Ooh, isn’t he magnificent!” I never heard any family member say, “Don’t kill him, Clint. He’s not hurting anybody.”
Allow me to tell y’all about my more recent encounters with rattlesnakes. I won’t burden you with tales of all the coral snakes we’ve seen lately. I have found a rattlesnake in our carport by my wife’s car. We found a rattler in our grandchildren’s sandbox. One was hiding in my tool shed, and I once found a 5-footer in my vegetable garden. The last encounter was a few months ago as I was putting away Christmas decorations in the crawlspace under our house. I wonder if any of these snakes would’ve hurt someone if I hadn’t found them. I know for a fact that these scaly serpents didn’t get the chance to bite anyone after they acquired acute lead poisoning.
I know some folk reading this will get upset. Some may say, “Snakes were here before we were”. Hey, I’m 60 years old. If I see a rattler who is 61, I’ll let him live. But any venomous snake younger than me will wish he stayed in the neighbor’s yard.
I wonder if these snake enthusiasts would object to killing other native creatures. Would they spray wasp killer at a yellow-jacket nest on the front porch? What about that big scorpion crawling around in the bathtub? Or some coyote stalking little Fifi out in the yard? Do these critters get handed the death penalty while a snake gets a reprieve?
Some folks might suggest calling a pest control service to capture a snake. I have met scores of snakes in my life, and I never had one sit still for an hour or two for some guy come and get it. For the record, I don’t kill anything unless they could harm humans, pets and livestock or destroy property. When I do detect a potential threat, I summon my favorite pest control service, Colt and Remington Exterminators, to handle the problem.
So, back to the question about snakes being bad. No, they aren’t all bad. Many are beneficial and they are allowed to slither about my property. But, yes, some snakes are bad. And if I have to choose who is dearer to me, my grandchildren or some devilish serpent, I’m sorry but there will be a scattering of snake innards all over the yard. Are snakes bad? I bet Adam and Eve would side with me.