This article was originally published on SailNet in July, 2000.
I don't know about you, but I'm a little afraid of snakes. I don't want to be around them and I really have no desire to handle them. I don't even like to handle eels—after all, they look a lot like snakes. For many of us, snakes remain a source of nightmares, misconceptions, and, for a few weird friends, adoration. Believe it or not, there are cultures that believe the snake represents the reincarnation of an important person or serves as an object of worship and praise. In Judeo-Christian circles on the other hand, the snake has been on the hit list since that historic day in the Garden of Eden.
Neverthless, snakes serve a very important role on our ecosystem and the importance of these reptiles cannot be understated. I don't, but many people do, wish a death sentence on every snake they see. I leave them alone and hope that they will leave me alone so that we can peacefully coexist. No, I am not terrified of these creatures, but I do respect them and give them their space and a wide berth. I am told that people who are educated about snakes have no fear. That may be true, but I will never be comfortable handling them.