remembered the brief conversation we’d had about snakes several months before. She said that thinking of me and how much I respected snakes wouldn’t allow her to harm this one, so she told her husband to stop the truck. They waited patiently for the snake to cross, neither of them willing to get out of their vehicle and coax it along. For me, this is like saving snakes by remote control; it amazes me how just a little bit of knowledge can change human behavior. More than anything, I enjoy teaching children about snakes. Children who absorb factual information will know it their entire lives and will perpetuate it by sharing it with others, including children of the future. Maybe each generation can become smarter and more compassionate. The Animal Planet generation amazes me with their knowledge of nature and their empathy for the earth. Throughout history, snakes have been revered by various cultures as supernatural deities and reviled in Christian scripture as the devil incarnate. They were metaphorically banished from the Irish isles by an overzealous saint, and in the modern world, two Aesculapian snakes entwined around a winged staff represent medicine and healing in the symbol of the caduceus, although the rod of Asclepius, with its single snake, is the correct symbol of medical associations in the United States. Despite being vilified in the Bible, snakes have played significant roles in the social, cultural, and mythological timeline of mankind for thousands of years. More recently, modern medicine has discovered relief from a host of human conditions within the complex makeup of enzymes found in snake venoms, making snakes more valuable to humanity now than at any other time in history. Whatever you think of them, snakes really are amazing creatures, and they’re far more afraid of us than we are of them. The next time you meet one, wish her well and let her go on her way. If you can’t do that, then give me a call, because catching a snake would make my day! u David E. Jensen is a freelance writer, reptile enthusiast, and licensed rattlesnake removal expert. He has never met a snake he didn’t like.
Dr. Todd Cameron Naturopathic Medical Doctor
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CATALYST Magazine June 2013 issue