This Earth Day weekend, events will be held around the world to demonstrate support and spur action towards protecting our environment. During this time, it is so important to reflect on how our individual actions can impact global wildlife populations and their ecosystems. Snakes, like all other wildlife species, depend on clean water to drink, pure air to breath and pristine habitats to thrive. As we work together to make our Earth a little better, let’s take a moment to appreciate the ways snakes contribute to our planet. You might be surprised how these spectacular serpents make our Earth ever so special.
Here are three spectacular ways that snakes are worthy of celebrating on Earth Day:
1. Snakes Maintain Balance in the Food Web.
All over the planet, snakes play an integral role in maintaining balance in ecosystems. In most systems, snakes can be both predator and prey. When a large prey population attracts and sustains a large snake population, those snakes become prey for birds, mammals and even other snakes! Some snakes specialize in preying on other snakes, like the kingsnake, which can prey on rattlesnakes because they are immune to rattlesnake venom. In Southeast Asia, the king cobra, the longest venomous snake in the world, is also a snake-eating specialist. Without snakes in the food web, ecosystems become unstable and could even collapse!
2. Snakes are a Natural Form of Pest Control.
As predators, snakes keep prey populations in balance. For example, rodents reproduce exponentially in the absence of predators, as long as there is plenty of food. This is particularly true in environments dominated by humans. The University of Nebraska estimates that mice cause $20 million in damage annually in Nebraska! Most people try to control these pests with chemicals which end up polluting the environment. Snakes provide an easy, environmentally friendly, free and natural pest control service.
Another example, timber rattlesnakes in the eastern U.S. eat rodents who are hosts to ticks. Those ticks are a vector for Lyme disease, which is a dangerous bacterial infection that can be transmitted to humans. When the snakes reduce the rodent populations, the prevalence of Lyme disease in the environment is reduced.
3. Snakes Deserve our Respect and Appreciation.
Snakes, while feared around the world, are also revered and celebrated in many cultures. For thousands of years, these wonders of nature have inspired art, fashion and mythology around the globe. In some societies snakes are often viewed as good fortune and others believe, the snake created the world. Being predators, the benefits of snakes are now being recognized as providing humans with an ecological service. However, snakes are seriously under threat. Some snake species have become threatened due to habitat destruction, urban development, disease, persecution, unsustainable trade and through the introduction of invasive species. Many snake species are endangered and some species are on the brink of extinction. As a society, we do not have to love snakes, but we can at least respect their right to exist without harm and appreciate their vital role in maintaining Earth’s biodiversity.
Make A Difference For Snake Conservation
You can support Save The Snakes and our global efforts to protect threatened snake populations and mitigate human-snake conflict with a charitable contribution to our organization. With your donation, you support our Conservation Partners to lead the way towards successful snake conservation efforts. Thank you for your support of Save The Snakes.