Friday, July 4, 2014

I have found out why exactly us humans hate snakes. Even though there are exceptions, there is a reason. To our primate ancestors, snakes were a known and hard-to-detect predator which could threaten our survival. For this reason, we evolved good vision and a pre-wired response in our brain to snakes. However, now, a fear of snakes seems to be less nature and more nurture. Nowadays, we seem to be more influenced by our friends, enemies, parents and playmates, in short:people we interact with, than our natural responses. So, a child with nature-loving parents probably will love nature, however, a child with not as knowledgeable parents who hate snakes who also has friends who hate snakes will probably end up hating snakes. Another reason for an opinion of snakes is where you come from. If there are more snakes in the area you come from, you are a lot more likely to be knowledgeable about snakes and not fear them than somebody in a less-diverse area. So, if you come from New Zealand, you're less likely to be scared of snakes than somebody from New York City. However, if you are scared of snakes, I would suggest gradual exposure and education to show you that you can respect snakes and back away slowly without fearing them. Most deaths from snakebite happen when somebody is trying to kill the snake. They do not happen because the snake ate them, or purposely bit them, following them everywhere. Look at this image.

This is a piece of cartoon snake clip art. Look at it. It is not scary. It does not have huge fangs or anything like that. It is a cute snake. These are the kind of images for gradual exposure! Then, after this little bit of exposure to cartoon snakes and having the person get comfortable with cartoon snake images, introduce them to images of real snakes in cute poses, like baby snakes or snakes in hats.

After they get comfortable with the cute snake photos, start using images of people holding snakes, ideally nonvenomous species.

Then once they get comfortable with the photos of people holding snakes, show them some photos of snakes, ideally nonvenomous.

You may then introduce them to somebody who has a pet snake. Tell them that it is not sizing them up to eat them, nor is it right in front of them. It is a snake in a box. If somebody is keeping it as a pet, it is not dangerous. 

There are things you should not do, however.
Do not force the person to hold, pet, or come into contact with a live snake.
Do not go to zoos, as this puts snakes with animals that regularly kill.
Do not force the person to find a snake in the wild.
Do not tell the person to get a snake.
Do not make fun of the person's fear of snakes.
Do not prank the person with snakes, fake snakes, or images of snakes.

This is Alli of Alli's Snakes, signing off, and certainly not afraid of snakes.

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