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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

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Snakes have a job to do; let them live so they can do it

Friday, June 8, 2012

I am amazed and saddened that there are still people out there who so fail to understand the basics of how our natural world operates that they would want to eradicate an entire group of animals. I am referring to Morris Stephenson's column about Eddie Peters and his mission to eliminate snakes in the Veterans' Memorial region of Pigg River.

While most of us do not consider snakes cute and cuddly, they still serve as a key part of the ecosystem. They help keep the populations of rats, mice and other rodents under control, as well as serve as food for hawks, raccoons and other critters. Peters himself states that most of the snakes he kills are harmless, so why does he want to kill them?

I understand that many people do not want snakes slithering in the vicinity of their homes; however, I would like to know if they would prefer rats instead. Snakes and other reptiles fill an important niche in our environment.

A word as to the yellow Burmese python -- this is a non-native species and definitely one we do not want in our area. It is highly unlikely that the snake would have survived very long in Southwest Virginia due to its coloration and our chilly falls and winters, but these invasive predators are currently wreaking havoc in the Florida Everglades.

As for the native species, poisonous and nonpoisonous, leave them alone! They do not deserve to be singled out for execution simply because some people do not like them or are scared of them. They have a job to do. Let them live so they can do it.

Laurie Greer

Rocky Mount

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