Re: Rattlesnake

Date: Mon Aug 30 1999 - 19:41:30 PDT

Date: Mon, 30 Aug 1999 22:41:30 EDT
Message-Id: <aabcdefg3088$foo@default>
Subject: Re: Rattlesnake

Just wanted to add my two cents,
Currently in the United States, the majority of rattlesnake populations are
undergoing a decline. The decline is due to indescriminate collecting,
killing, and habitat destruction. The majority of snakes both venomous and
nonvenomous tend to have the attitude if I don't move then I can't be seen.
This is why it is possible to walk by a snake and not see it or have it
react. Once the snake becomes aware that it has been discovered then it
typically will react and attempt to retreat or defend itself if it can't
retreat. Killing a larger rattlesnake can have severe impacts upon the local
population as it can take more than five years in the wild for a snake to
join the breeding population. Female rattlesnakes frequently only bear
litters every second to third year. Removing a breeding size female also
impacts the population. Depending upon the species of rattlesnake, your
grandfather may have violated state regulations regarding threatened or
endangered species. Some states also require special permits to collect or
kill rattlesnakes. If the snake was on state or federal lands then the animal
may have been protected under state or federal park regulations. I would
consider it appropriate to gently poke the snake to move it to a safe
distance to leave the cave area if necessary. A injured or angry snake is
more likely to attempt to bite in self defence. As a side not the majority
(95 % plus) of men (teenagers and up) who are envenomated by venomous snakes
in the United States are bitten in a arm/hand while trying to catch or kill a
snake. The majority (95% plus) of women are bitten in the lower leg due to
accidently stepping (actually contacting the snake) on the snake. Women also
make up a very small number of human envenomations in the United States. In
almost all occasions its much safer to leave the snake alone. Only if you
have to move the snake to pass by should the snake be disturbed.
Edward Kowalski
Lead Keeper
Dept. of Herpetology
Philadelphia Zoological Society

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