Snakes have been villainized since the dawn of time. We all remember the instrumental role a snake played when it came to Adam and Eve.
Snakes have slithered into many of the least flattering roles in pop culture. Whether it’s the evil, hypnotizing snake from The Jungle Book, or a terrifying photo of a boa constrictor swallowing a goat, snakes are scary.
Even so, some people keep snakes as pets and show them affection. There are exceptions to every rule.
There is no denying that most people’s reactions to snakes aren’t favorable. But like many predators, they play a crucial role in the food chain and in keeping our ecosystem balanced.
A reminder of this was just posted on Facebook by user Amber Bays, who shared a compelling reason to let king snakes live out their days and actually help us humans in the process.
Facebook user Amber Bays lives in Kentucky and had always heard that you shouldn’t kill eastern king snakes.
One reason for this is that there is concern about their numbers declining. Yet there is another important reason, and she caught it on camera.
No one can be blamed for having a negative reaction to seeing a king snake, Amber’s images prove how important these creatures are, particularly the eastern king snake.
There are many subspecies of king snake all over the world, but the eastern king snake is a marvel of pest control.
Eastern king snakes are found throughout the southeastern United States, according to the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory.
They can grow up to seven feet long and kill their prey by constricting and suffocating it to death.
Don’t worry — humans are not on the menu, although other, nastier creatures are.
Instead, eastern king snakes tend to target smaller, more vicious snakes like copperheads, cottonmouths, and rattlesnakes.
All of these snakes are venomous and can cause serious danger to people and pets, especially in wooded areas.
Despite being about 30 inches smaller than the king snake, copperheads account for far more bites to humans, according to The Smithsonian’s National Zoo.
While few attacks to humans prove fatal, being bitten by a copperhead is not a pleasant experience.
Understandably, the thought of snakes eating other snakes is a little tough to wrap your head around.
Many people probably don’t take the time to distinguish between good and bad snakes in the actual moment they encounter one.
However, Amber is raising awareness for these nondescript giants after she saw an eastern king snake devouring a copperhead firsthand.
Since eastern king snakes are actually natural predators to those smaller, more venomous snakes — who are actually a threat to humans — it is counterproductive to kill one.
Instead, we should let them be our natural pest control. Why use poison and traps when king snakes are nature’s exterminator?
We’re all on the same team, and king snakes being around will help minimize our chances of being bitten by a copperhead or rattlesnake in the long run.
These snakes are declining in numbers and they do a very thankless job for us. So let’s help spread the word and protect this key part of the food chain!
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