Over the years, I’ve tried to be an ambassador for snakes. It seems to me that they are the object of a great deal of misunderstanding, unnecessary fear, and violence. Personally, I think snakes have a lot going for them, and I do my best to help others see that as well.
Another animal that is often in the same category as snakes is sharks. They, too, are often misunderstood, feared beyond what is reasonable or warranted, and are killed unnecessarily.
While in the Bahamas, we saw a lot of sharks; lemons, nurse sharks, black nosed, and Caribbean reef sharks. While wade fishing for bonefish, we had several sharks (one of them over 8 feet long) swimming alongside us like dogs looking for table scraps. But they were actually quite timid, keeping their distance and easily spooked. At no time did I feel threatened or alarmed.
We also went with some folks who used to work with sharks. They chummed up some sharks while telling us all about them. Then we got in the water—yes, while they were still feeding them—and swam with the sharks. There were about 8 Caribbean reef sharks, all over 6 feet, one about 9 feet long. They are very sharky sharks—they look vicious, like they are all business. But they too were quite timid and easily scared, and would flee anytime anyone got too close to them.
It would be nice if we as a species grew to the point where we didn’t have to automatically kill things we are afraid of, don’t understand, or which somehow make us feel like Masters of the Universe.