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World Snake Day: History & Importance

World Snake Day  

World snake day is celebrated on July 16th. It is the day that gives us a reason to celebrate and raise awareness about the conservation of this reptile.  People believe that snakes are dangerous and venomous killers. But guess what? Not all of them are poisonous or scary as people believe.  They are afraid of even non-venomous snakes and the main reason is the lack of knowledge about these creatures.

World snake day gives us the reason to learn more about these reptiles and also spread knowledge and raise awareness about them. So that people may not be afraid of them but know more about these creatures and learn to respect them. it is a great day to learn about the species of snakes and whether they are venomous or non-venomous.

The jury is still out! whether they are good or bad. Even in some religions and cultures snakes are considered to be holy and are treated as Gods on the other hand in some cultures and religions it represents lies and deceit.

History of World Snake Day

The word ‘snake ‘comes from the Old English word ‘snaca’ and it is believed that they evolved from the lizards that roamed the earth approximately 174.1 million years ago. Just so you know the oldest fossil snake Eophis underwoodi lived 167 million years ago in England. Do you know that there are more than 3500 species of snakes in the world? That is a lot! right?

Even before scientists found out about snakes and their species, they have been part of ancient mythologies and religions. For example, Bible says that Satan came to eve by taking the form of a snake and made her eat the forbidden fruit.

Irish mythology states that during the 5th century, St. Patrick was attacked by snakes during his 40 days of fasting. The tale goes that he expelled all the snakes into the sea by waving his staff. People believe this is the reason why there are no snakes in Ireland.

Folklore such as these represents an evil image of snakes and to some extent, it is because of these myths that people are scared of them.

Importance of World Snake Day

 

  1. It marks the Importance of Snakes in the Ecosystem

Climate change, deforestation, and numerous other factors are the reason why the habitats of snakes are declining. We must put a collective effort into preserving and protecting their habitats and their lives. Except for the north and south poles snakes are everywhere be it prairie, sea, forests, or deserts.

As their habitat is declining, snakes now enter the human territories and that is where they get killed most of the time due to the fear of people and lack of knowledge. Even though snakes are dangerous yet they have an important role in the food chain and ecosystem. And if they go extinct it will result in an imbalance in the ecosystem.

  1. It helps in Fixing the Mindset of People toward Snakes

Snakes can consume almost every animal from insects to goats and lambs. It has been seen that pythons and anacondas sometimes try to eat cattle even. They eat their prey in a single go because they can separate their upper and lower jaw.

  1. It Promotes the Conservation and Preservation of Snakes

Even though some of the snake species are not hunted yet their number is declining due to the deterioration of their habitat. People kill some of the snakes because they believe to have healing abilities. Because of all such activities, some snake species are about to go extinct.

How to Celebrate World Snake Day

There are numerous ways that you can celebrate this special day

  1. Watch a Film or Documentary Related to Snakes

Watch a documentary or any video related to snakes. It’s a great way to engage young ones in learning something new about these reptiles. It will help you in understanding how do they behave, and what do they eat? Etc.

  1. Raise Awareness about the Difference Between Venomous and Non-Venomous Snakes

People take all snakes as venomous by most people because of which they kill the snakes. This world snake day shares with people the knowledge about non-venomous snakes and brings them to the forefront.

  1. Visit Your Nearest Zoo

To learn more about snakes, visit your nearest zoo. You can learn so much more about the snakes found in your region, the trip will be educational.

  1. Host an Art Class

One of the best ways to engage kids in some learning is by art. Ask the kids to draw and color their favorite snake species. This will help them in connecting with snakes and learn more about them.

Some Fun Facts To Know About Snakes

  1. Snakes are not aggressive; they don’t bite out of distress or pick fights. They are secretive and shy and if they could they would put a “leave me alone” sign on their door.
  2. They are present everywhere on earth except in New Zealand, Iceland, Greenland, and Ireland.
  3. Snakes prefer to live alone except for mating season. Evidence proves that in the case of Anacondas, during mating season they form a “mating ball” consisting of one female and 12 males.
  4. However, being harmful to others, the venom is of great help to the snakes themselves. As snakes swallow their prey whole, the venom helps in breaking down the flesh for digestion.
  5. Do you know that ophidiophobia is the fear of snakes? What s a fancy term, right?
  6. Pre-historians believe that snakes have roamed the earth for over 100 million years evolving from pre-historic lizards.
  7. Apart from fishes’ snakes are the animals who lay eggs and also give birth. Pythons and king cobra are an example of snakes that lay eggs. Sea snakes, anacondas, and vipers are the ones that give birth.
  8. Snakes don’t have a nose so that is why they smell with their tongue and they can even detect the direction from which it comes.
  9. Snakes depend on external sources for heat which is why you can see them stretching on rocks and sometimes roads. Without the warmth, they cannot digest their food, which is why you can say they basically run on solar power.
  10. Snakes can have up to 1200 bones, you can call them bony.
  11. Snake scales comprise the same substance as human nails and hairs which is keratin.
  12. Sea snakes have a special ability to breathe through their skin which allows them to stay underwater for a longer time.

Conclusion

It is understandable to fear an animal that can easily kill a living being. But we strongly believe that these amazingly diverse and fascinating animals that can grow from several inches to 30 feet long, and from aggressive and deadly to docile and friendly deserve to receive love and respect from people. World snake day gives people a great opportunity to learn about these reptiles and understand their importance and need for maintaining the ecological balance.

 

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