published Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Most people just don’t like snakes

Most snakes are harmless. Some are even beneficial in nature. But some can be very dangerous. In any case, most people just don’t like snakes of any kind — much less the thought of encountering one.

In a couple of recent cases, that fear was very understandable.

In the Bronx Zoo in New York, for example, a cobra just “disappeared” from its enclosure. Where did it go? How might it endanger any number of people?

Those were serious questions that nobody wanted to be answered tragically, so the reptile facility at the zoo was closed as the search went on.

On the other side of the world, at an airport in Indonesia, authorities arrested two men headed for Dubai who had tried to carry 40 pythons on board a flight. The nonpoisonous constrictors wrap around and suffocate their prey.

Our dangerous snakes in Tennessee are copperheads, cottonmouths and certain types of rattlesnakes. With the exception of a local death from a copperhead bite in January, snakebite fatalities are rare here.

Fortunately, most people do not often encounter one even in nature — and certainly not loose in zoos or airports.

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