I’d like to share an incident I recently observed which reminded me of just how far we’ve distanced ourselves from the natural world around us.
On a recent morning walk I saw one of our local lawn service contractors kill a snake which he’d disturbed while clearing weeds from a ditch separating a lawn from the street. There also happened to be another dead snake, of a different species, laying in the street nearby. Since he’s well known locally and a likeable fellow, a woman who lives nearby and was driving down the street at the time stopped to see what the commotion was about. The contractor picked up the snake He’d killed as well as the one that had already been run over and proudly displayed them to this woman. He explained that one was a “water moccasin” and the other a “cottonmouth” and was glad no kids had come across them before He did.
Sadly, he was wrong on both identifications. “Water moccasin” and “Cottonmouth” are both common names for the species Agkistrodon piscavoris, which is a venomous species. Unfortunately he held a Garter snake in one hand and a Florida water snake in the other. Neither of these is venomous or presents a threat to anybody.
It was disconcerting to learn that a man who worked outside daily, and no doubt frequently encountered snakes, was so utterly uneducated regarding them. Even more saddening was His announcement that He intended to take both home to show His children, “So they’ll know what to watch out for!”, thus continuing the cycle of disconnection and ignorance.