JULY 2018 • LONGISLANDPRESS.COM 93
STRAIGHT TALK ON SNAKES
By JUNGLE BOB
Snakes have always fascinated me.
My first encounter was as a 6-yearold
who just moved from Manhattan
to Babylon. A snake slithered out of
the hedgerow and right up to me, so
I picked it up!
That’s where it all started. The neighborhood
kids stopped in their tracks,
their mouths wide open. My mother
looked out the kitchen window and
said, “WHAT IS THAT?”
Then the screaming started. My
dad, a World War II veteran and New
York City police officer, sprinted for
Clearly everyone there had a preconceived
idea of about the intentions
of that snake.
Words like evil, slimy and venomous
were clearly present. It was a
surreal moment that left an indelible
mark on me and ignited a spark that
has burned passionately for decades.
Thousands of educational programs
and countless encounters with snakes,
and that city kid is doing just fine. I received
a glimpse of nature’s grand plan
and learned that all creatures play
an important role. Hating any given
group based on misinformation is the
definition of prejudice.
The truth is as interesting as it is
enlightening and needs to be told. So
let’s set the record straight and dispel
some myths about snakes.
1. Snakes are not slimy. So stop
saying they are, ok? Their skin is
bone dry, and being cold blooded,
they don’t even perspire.
2. Not all snakes are venomous. Of
the 3,300 known species on Earth,
less than 10 percent of them have
venom. And no venomous snakes are
native to Long Island.
3. Snakes are not inherently evil.
Yet bad press from the Bible to social
4. Snakes don’t hypnotize their
prey. They do stare, but that is not an
attempt to mesmerize anyone. Snakes
simply don’t have eyelids! So they are
staring 24/7, even sleeping with their
eyes wide open.
5. Snakes are not “charmed” by
music. Despite the image of a cobra
swaying out of the wicker basket,
the reality is they lack ears, so they
hear nothing. They are just reacting
to the swaying of the musician, who
they perceive as a threat.
So the snake that is so loathed I have
strived to give a break to ever since.
Only a minority of snakes, like this Bush Viper, are venomous.
No venomous snakes
are native to Long Island.
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