Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Not long ago a woman from Occidental Negros was caught smuggling over one hundred poisonous snakes and reptiles out of this country. She was taking them to Malaysia to be sold for a variety of uses. The reptiles were in little plastic bottles in her luggage. Many of the poor reptiles had died during the short suffocating trip from Bacolod to Manila. I am sure some of you are shivering and saying, “Good, Lets ship all of the little nasty creatures out of the country. Who the hell needs them?”
Actually, WE all need them. They are an important part of the web of life and help keep a very delicate balance. Surprisingly, they probably indirectly save hundreds of lives here every year. They may have saved your life.
While it is true a few of these poisonous reptiles do injure people; they do so only in self defense. Their normal prey are rats or mice. In fact there are many homes in Korea that keep snakes in their garden to control rodents. While a few thousand people around the world die from poisonous reptiles, literally billions of people die or have died from rats and mice. Rats carried the plague that wiped out half of Europe. Just a few years ago rats carried a hemorrhagic fever in the four corner area of Arizona, killing several people before we got it under control. Rats and mice carry rabies which can cause an excruciating death. A rabid rat will hunt and attack you. Even normal rats will bite sleeping babies, especially around the mouth. Snakes want nothing to do with you; but mice and rats will eat and poop in your food.
Many of you are afraid of snakes and lizards. Everybody is afraid of something. Learn to deal with your fears. Knowledge is power. Knowledge conquers fear. When you remove the snakes and lizards from the web of life, you allow the rats and mice to breed unchecked. You upset the balance of nature and endanger us all. If there is a poisonous snake or lizard near your home, try to safely move it or have it moved to a new home; you should kill it only as a last resort.
God left us as custodians of this wonderful world. We need to learn to do a better job. We need to live in harmony with nature and each other.

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