Garter-Ribbon Snakes Forum
Awful Animal Planet Segment
I posted this over on the "Snakes in General" Forum, but I felt its inclusion here was appropriate as well.
I’m wondering how many here saw an Animal Planet episode that detailed, in horribly slanted drama llama fashion, a house in Idaho that was "overrun" with "terrifying" garter snakes?
Seriously. I loved and watched Steve Irwin and Jeff Corwin for years (anybody want to e-mail Jeff about this one, I think it’s appropriate), and this single show did more to undo the education and enlightenment these two brought to the American viewing public than anything with the possible exception of a Midwest Rattlesnake Roundup or one of those "They shall take up serpents" religious sects from Appalachia.
As I see it, here are a couple of relevant issues...
Item 1: The garter snakes are a native species, and it’s clear the homebuilder was negligent in constructing a dwelling in swampy habitat where they thrived.
Item 2: Local zoning and conservations laws should be drawn up with these possibilities in mind. Shoot, my grandfather had a cabin in the woods one time, and a skunk nested under the porch, and the blame did not lie with the skunk.
Item 3: The show was purposely slanted with unwarranted claims the garter snake musk had contaminated the tap water (the swamp itself seems a more likely candidate), and it’s likely the concentration of snakes was linked to breeding opportunities (probably immediately post hibernation) rather than any other factor. BTW, I would invite those more familiar with this issue than I to address this matter in depth; I’m a knowledgeable hobbyist and environmental activist, but that’s all.
It others feel as I do, I would encourage people to contact the appropriate Animal Planet executives and the network sponsors (many are pet products providers). This kind of propaganda serves no purpose other than to vilify essential harmless animals and justify draconian anti-environmental policies and control measures.