Today is world reptiles’ day

Reptiles are one of the most beautiful creatures in the world. Reptiles play very important roles in our environment. Reptiles play very key roles in the ecosystem. Despite the importance and contributions of reptiles to the world, many people see reptiles to be disgusting. Many people fear reptiles due to their ‘strange’ looks. Today is a great day. Today is 21st October and it being world reptiles’ day. Reptiles are everywhere. Reptiles can be found in every biome (water, land) even in the air. Reptiles play important roles in the ecosystem. Reptiles are the major contributors to a healthy environment. Reptiles like snakes help to keep down bugs and rodents that would love to make ‘nests’ in our homes. Spiritually, many people have speculated and attributed some reptiles to something spiritual. In many instances, these claims are false. Reptiles are very important in our lives and we need to protect them. Surprisingly, the many reasons we give to despise reptiles are mostly fallacies. Herpetophobia is one of the fears ‘killing’ many people. Herpetophobia is the fear of reptiles. Many people are suffering from herpetophobia in that they even refuse to sleep once they see a snake or wall gecko in their house or room. Funnily, these reptiles are not as dangerous as we think. Averagely, snakes are one of the harmless creatures in the world but many people fear snakes. Generally, there are two (2) major categories of snakes. They are venomous snakes and non-venomous snakes. Venomous snakes are snakes that have venom (poison) with venom apparatus and non-venomous snakes are snakes that have no venom nor venom apparatus. Surprisingly, among the many snake species in the world, only about 7-9% of them is venomous, indicating that most of the snakes we see around are all non-venomous.
Why then do we fear snakes? It is not surprising that snakes have been attributed to something negative. Whenever we hear of snakes, negative thoughts come into mind. Sometimes when we even see snakes in our dreams, we end up saying ‘it was a bad dream.’
Let us consider some biology of snakes. Snakes are reptiles. Many snakes do not have legs. The head of a snake consists of ‘eyes’, mouth, nostrils, brain and a special sensory structure called vomeronasal or Jacobson’s organ.
Funnily, virtually all snakes are blind. Snakes cannot see. The few that can see have very poor eyesight, thus snake’s eyes play no or little roles in their ability to live and survive. Snakes’ survival depends majorly on their vomeronasal organ. The vomeronasal organ consist of a ‘tongue like’ structure found in the mouth of snakes. This organ is used to sense food, chemicals, heat, preys and even predators. That is why snakes are always found flicking their ‘tongues’ out. They do that to sense the environment. If you want to make a snake as ‘useless’ as anything, just cut off the ‘tongue’. Behaviorally, many snakes are nocturnal (active in the night). Snakes can ‘hide’ in a particular place for long and you may never see them. We are normally ‘bitten’ by snakes because the snakes feel threatened. Mind you, snakes fear us more than we fear them. Snakes only ‘bite’ to protect themselves. Maybe the only ‘group’ of snakes that can bite humans for food are the pythons (who are very harmless). Pythons are one of the harmless snakes to humans but may become dangerous when they are ‘big’ and hungry. Anyway, here in Ghana it is rare to find that size of a python which can swallow humans.
Snakes have many important benefits in our environment. I will not be surprised if many of us have snakes in our homes. We may never see them but they are there. Snakes help to control the population of mice in our homes. ‘Hahaha’
In many instances, when we see a snake we begin to fear and run away. However, the funny thing is, snakes do not see us. The snake may only sense us due to the heat that our bodies produce. So why do we have to run away from snakes…. FEAR!!!!!
Today is world reptiles’ day. Let us protect reptiles. Reptiles are our friends. Say no to herpetophobia.

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