Letter: Respect snakes you encounter in the wild

(Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune file photo) Gabrielle Ford of Florida, who is no stranger to the great outdoors, gets an up-close and personal look at a gopher snake during a 2017 trip down the Colorado River with SPLORE, which provides outdoor opportunities to people of all ability levels.

It’s summer in Utah once again, and the snakes are out. If you see one in your travels, remember that snakes are not aggressive creatures that want to harm humans. They are reclusive bordering on shy and are non-confrontational until we provoke them. What people mistake as aggression is merely a snake defending itself.

If you see a snake, leave it alone! Too often, someone wants to poke a snake with a stick or do something equally stupid to provoke it, and that's when bites occur.

If you see a snake, enjoy the encounter. Take a picture. Tell your children about the importance of snakes in the environment and not to bother them.

The only good snake is a live snake. If you don’t believe that, then everything you’ve been taught about snakes your entire life is wrong. There is no point in living your life in fear when you can do something about it, and there’s no point in hating an animal simply because you don’t understand it.

If you see a rattlesnake in your travels, take a picture and let it be. Utah’s snakes are protected by law, and anything beyond that is illegal.

David E. Jensen, Holladay

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