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.

The exotic pet trade poses an even greater threat to these reptiles—and humans. 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. Most 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.

Large captive snake
Aaron Ansarov
/
For The HSUS
Say no to netting

While many gardeners use netting to protect fruit and other plants, it can be a death trap for snakes who become entangled and sustain spinal damage. 

Did you know?

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

Bird in birdbath, enjoying a humane backyard
ebettini
ebettini

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