Busting Modern Day Snake Myths

Posted in Wildlife A-Z | September 16, 2010 | Comment Now

Cultures have been known to revere cows, dogs, monkeys and other animals. Similarly, snakes too have been revered by some cultures around the world, while a few others have despised it. The image that people have created of this otherwise fascinating creature has a lot to with the way these people have been influenced by the cultural beliefs that they’re grown up with or the mythology that they’ve been exposed to.

The ancient Aztecs worshipped the mythical ‘plumed serpent’ as the ‘Master of Life’, while some African cultures are known to revere rock pythons. According to these African cultures, killing or harming a rock python is a very serious crime. The Aborigines of Australia are known to associate a giant rainbow serpent to the creation of life.

Modern Myths about Snakes:

Snakes have always been described as being larger than they are in real life. The stories about New England water snakes and them being ten feet and nine feet long have been around for a while. In reality, that species of snake cannot exceed a size of about three and a half feet in length.

Poisonous Snakes:
It so often happens that people kill a snake as soon as they sight it; and then they ask questions about whether or not the snake was poisonous. This might lead to a general perception that the world is overrun by venomous snakes.  In reality, however, venomous snakes make up for only about 10% of the world’s snake population. In Massachusetts alone, there are said to be about fourteen species of snakes, of which only 2 are venomous – timber rattlesnake and the northern copperhead. Both of these species are extremely rare and are known to generally confine themselves to solitude.

Swallowing Their Young:
Again, there is no evidence on this one. It is very often said that the mother snakes will swallow their young ones when they sense danger and they will later spit them out. In reality, the whole concept of parental care isn’t very well developed in the case of snakes and there may be no real evidence that the mothers can actually protect their young in such a manner. The myth may have been the result of observation of the fact that some of these snakes are known to eat the young snakes of their own species. They will, however, not eat their own brood.

Naming the Milk Snakes:
The milk snake is said to get its name from its ability to directly suck milk from the cow’s udders. Milk snakes, or for that matter any snake, does not possess the anatomy required to be able to do so. Barns generally are attractive places for these snakes to live because the food is in plenty and comes in the forms of small rats or mice.

  • Add to Delicious!Save to delicious
  • Stumble itStumble it

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge