Benefits of Snakes
* Written by Vana Sathya Sree Manju - whose interests lead her to writing articles on health, pets, history, martial arts, traveling, technology etc.
As humans, we are naturally terrified of all snakes, the reason their bite can lead to death. Agreed, there is lot of negative stigma around them, because of various myths. Many of the human population are of the belief that all snakes are venomous and the only way to get rid of the fear is to kill these reptiles at the drop of a hat. These animals beat a hasty retreat when confronted, but become angry and can bite only when threatened. In this article of benefits of snakes to Mother Nature you will be given information on their uses and advantages.
It has been estimated there exist more than 2600 species of snakes. There are many snakes - they could be as tiny as an earthworm and can have big bodies such as Anacondas. They are found everywhere in the globe even in deserts and swamps. They cannot survive in the cold regions, and some snakes in the cold environment have changed their survival to the hibernation way. Unlike humans and other warm-blooded animals, they seldom face nutrient deficiency as they consume their prey entirely. An anaconda feeds four times a year. They cannot regulate their body temperature according to the environment as they are ectotherms.
Let us look into the anatomy of snakes. They are long and do not have hands, legs. Their body is covered with scales. They have eyes that are stagnant, has a forked tongue that can be moved. Some of the snake species are not poisonous.
For catching prey, snakes use various senses such as hearing, touch to recognize as well track their prey. There are snakes which use venom to paralyze their prey while some such as pythons use their powerful strength and long body to squeeze the life out of their victims.
Though there are man-designed tools for checking the number of rodents such as rat traps, poisoning food items. However, snakes are more effective as they move fast in sand, rocks, squeeze via cracks and can move inside burrows and shelters of rodents.
The role of snakes in the food cycle and ecosystem is unmatched as they are efficient hunters, expert predators and help to maintain the numbers of many harmful animals in check. The main food are rodents (for large snakes), insects (small snakes) and unless challenged by the reptiles, the number of these prey increases which can cause disastrous consequences in the environment. The rodents, insects and other pests can wreak havoc on crops, and when they enter people's dwelling they can cause harm to food and companies. More so, the rodents can spread diseases like the plague. A survey points that many cause of house fires are caused by chewing of wires by rats and mice.To a person who is interested in history, the very sight of snakes can provoke feelings of fascination and interest.
The snake venom is used in small doses in the treatment of body ailments such as paralysis, heart attack (blood clotting). The venom of viper is used in anti-aging medicine and in the prevention of growth of cancer cells.
Although the snakes are worshipped as Gods in Asian countries, their abodes are becoming less due to more agriculture, development of more lands for human housing and the introduction of domestic pets. These reptiles deserve to be respected and need our protection to live harmoniously.