What is the real degree of danger snakes pose to human's?

A snake charmer kissing a cobra.

Recently, while workers were excavating an ancient walled city in Manila, they found an old cannon still loaded with live ammunition.

Suddenly, the workers scrambled out of the excavation.

Because of the cannon?

No, because they had found a pile of snakes’ eggs, and parent snakes sometimes stay near their eggs until they hatch.

The cry went out, “Be careful, snakes!”

The workers feared the snakes more than the loaded cannon.


The real degree of danger


Since these big snakes generally prefer smaller prey, the danger to humans is minimal.

Thus the greatest danger to humans is from poisonous snakes.

But only a small percentage, of the world’s nearly 3,000 known species of snakes are poisonous.

It is estimated that only about eight out of a hundred present any danger to humans.

One writer recently observed that ‘the chance of being bitten by a snake is about the same as being struck by lightning.’

He also notes, however, that ‘it is best not to play around with snakes, since it is snake handlers who most often experience snakebites.’

But if it attempted to do so, could a pursuing land snake catch a human?

Probably not.

The fastest speed that most snakes can attain is only about eight miles an hour, slower than a person can run, and few snakes can go that fast.

A notable exception is the swift king cobra.

However, as it travels along, it carries its head off the ground, but has to drop it horizontally to make turns.

Thus a human, by dodging, may get away from it in the open.

There are reports of persons escaping the king cobra by just such maneuvers!

The fact is that snakes generally are quite shy, and will get out of man’s way if given the opportunity.

This preference for caution is true even of the poisonous varieties, including the cobra in most instances.

Snakes, are not out looking to attack humans.

So if one is careful when in the garden or around trees or shrubs, the chances of being bitten are small.

It is also good in some places to be alert around the garage or home, because venomous snake invade these quarters too.


Undeserved reputation


It appears that, for the most part, snakes have an undeserved reputation.

Herpetologist (one who makes a study of reptiles) Sam Telford is among those who believe this.

He says:

“They have a reputation they don’t deserve; because a few are dangerous all of them have been maligned.”

Actually snakes serve useful purposes.

They are important in the control of rats, mice and other rodents that multiply at a rapid rate and can do great damage to crops.

So, many farmers look at the snake as their friend, as a co-worker in their agricultural efforts.

While some snakes are dangerous and certainly should be treated with respect, the majority are useful to humans.