Solitary creatures who prefer to be left alone, snakes have a bad reputation that doesn’t match their behavior.

Just a quarter of snake species are venomous, and most snakes aren’t a threat to humans or pets. Yet snakes inspire fear in many people, whose overblown reactions often result in snakes being unnecessarily killed or removed from their habitats. In some states, rattlesnakes are pulled from their dens using poles tipped with fishhooks, then put on display and killed for the novelty of their meat.

Large captive snake
Aaron Ansarov
/
For The HSUS
The exotic pet trade poses an even greater threat.

Large snakes such as pythons, anacondas and boa constrictors can be legally kept as pets in many states, sometimes with painful (and even fatal) consequences for their owners. Many captive snakes are kept in tanks so small they can’t fully stretch out and most owners don’t have the expertise to safely care for them.

Snake in small cage at an unaccredited roadside facility
Kathy Milani
/
The HSUS
Did you know?

Rather than using ears to hear, snakes rely on bones in their jaws to sense vibrations nearby.

No matter how big or small your outdoor space, you can create a haven for local wildlife. By providing basic needs like water, food and shelter, you can make a difference in your own backyard.

ebettini / iStock.com