If rattlesnakes are dangerous to adults, children, and animals, should we just kill them if they are in our yard? Rattlesnakes have struck and killed people before, but they eat annoying rodents like mice. So, do we let the rattlesnakes live their lives freely, or kill them for better safety?
Rattlesnakes should not be killed unless in an extreme circumstance where other options are limited. The snakes don’t want to be around humans, and they only attack when they are scared. It is better for the snake to be relocated to a place safer for the snake and everyone else.
To get more information on the impact and effect of killing rattlesnakes, keep reading!
Why You Should Not Kill a Rattlesnake
At a concert in California, there was a rattlesnake coiled up underneath the stage. This was obviously a safety hazard for the performers, employees, and customers attending. To manage the snake, a U.S. Forest Service Biologist got the snake and took it to a safe place away from the crowd.
This put the snake in a better place, away from the commotion and noise. The audience was able to enjoy the concert without any harm done by a snake.
Rattlesnakes only attack people when they feel they are in danger, so they aren’t necessarily dangerous as long as you respect their space and keep an eye out for them so you don’t step on one.
Some may argue that relocating a snake makes them as good as dead, but according to Doctor Hayes, that is not the case. Rattlesnakes can adapt to new areas most of the time. (Source)
Rattlesnakes are not going to hunt you down. They would much rather find a mate or eat some mice. They are animals with instincts who will use their bodies to defend themselves.
We do the same as human beings. The first thing you should resort to is getting rid of a rattlesnake, not killing it. There are humane ways to manage these potential predators.
It is even illegal to kill specific types of snakes in each state. Some require you to have a hunting license.
Why Rattlesnakes are Important to The Ecosystem
Each animal in the animal kingdom has a role, even those pesky mosquitoes! Balance is key.
Rattlesnakes play their part in the animal kingdom by eating rodents such as mice, chipmunks, rats, and rabbits. They also eat small birds, insects, and even frogs. They eat those pesky grasshoppers and locusts which can cause damage to crops.
Rattlesnakes also lower the population of ticks because they eat the rodents that carry the ticks. That makes it so tick-borne diseases such as Lymes disease are not as common.
Killing rattlesnakes could have a negative effect on the ecosystem. It would cause an unnecessary imbalance.
Probability of Getting Bitten By a Rattlesnake
Rattlesnakes live in all different parts of the world. They are good at adapting to different climates. Rattlesnakes can come out in the sun to keep their cold blood running through their veins. They are also on the lookout for a mate. You can see a rattlesnake during any time of the day, but they are out the most during the morning and the evening.
Though the numbers are not exact, it is estimated that about 3,500 to 4,000 people get bit by rattlesnakes in the United States each year. Around 5 people die from rattlesnake bites on average, and those deaths occurred between 6 and 48 hours after the bite.
Hospitals have medications that have an extremely high chance of saving people from dying from the bite. If taken to the hospital within 1-2 hours they are 99% likely to recover.
How to Get a Rattlesnake Removed Without Killing Them
If a rattlesnake is in your yard, under the porch, in the garden, or in another place in your space, simply call a professional and have them come and take care of it. Panicking or trying to kill it yourself could lead to a much more dangerous situation than getting help.
If you are wondering who you can call, you can call animal control or the fire department. The number for Animal Control in the United States is 417-833-3592.
People sometimes poke the snake with a long stick to push it away from the area or trap it inside a container that can be taken somewhere else. This is not recommended because trained professionals will know how to do it safely.
In Utah, it is illegal to kill rattlesnakes. They make an exception for people that are in serious danger of being bitten by one. If someone is caught harassing or killing a rattlesnake, they can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor by police.
Some organizations fight against rattlesnake killing fests. They accept donations and work to educate people on snake safety. (Source)
Safety Around a Rattlesnake
There are over 32 types of rattlesnakes. All types are venomous and dangerous, especially the Western Diamondback. Most states in the U.S. are highly populated with rattlesnakes, especially Texas, New Mexico, and Utah. Some states like Alaska and Hawaii do not have rattlesnakes.
There are safety strategies that can better protect you and your loved ones from getting bitten by any type of rattlesnake. You should also be cautious if you have off-leash dogs near a rattlesnake habitat.
First of all, do not panic. This could scare the snake even more. Try to keep as much distance from the snake as you can. Do not try to kill a rattlesnake or threaten it in any way. If you hear a rattle, slowly move away from where the sound is coming from.
Help protect the people and children around you by telling everyone around you that there is a rattlesnake nearby.
If you are having problems with rattlesnakes on your property, decrease the number of bushes, trees, and other things on your property that could hide and protect the snake. Try to decrease the rodent and bird population so that the rattlesnakes don’t come close to your property in search of food.
Rattlesnakes should not be killed unless it is necessary for your own defense. They are animals that are naturally going to protect themselves when they feel threatened. They manage the rodent population. Actively killing rattlesnakes is violent and could negatively affect the ecosystem. There are safer ways to remove rattlesnakes.