Saturday, March 17, 2012

Why we Shouldn't Litter

Few things in this World get me as riled as littering. Not only is it unsightly, but it often has detrimental consequences on wildlife. Tonight my daughter was coming in the backdoor and yelled for me to "come quick!" I hurried to see what the problem was and she had found a black snake with a piece of plastic PVC pipe wrapped around its midsection. There as no possible way this snake would have survived had my daughter not found it and we had not been given the opportunity to rescue it.

I picked the snake up and immediately it musked and bit me. Which is exactly the type of behavior one can expect from a snake that has been snatched up by a giant. You can see the blood on my finger. It is nothing more than a superficial scratch.

The snake is probably 3 to 4 years of age and measures nearly 2 feet in length. The piece of pipe had grown into its skin and my fear was that it was so embedded that we would not be able to remove it without causing further damage.

We decided to try and saw the pipe off. My husband helped me, and it took about 20 minutes to finally free the snake of its PVC entrapment. I need you to understand something too, my husband does not like snakes and I really think he secretly fears them. He bucked up and helped me save this snake when he saw the condition it was in and how important it was to me. He really came through for me and for this snake in need.  The wound that was exposed did not look too severe so I made the decision to release it in a safe place in the yard.

I hope this snake heals and goes on to lead a productive snakey life. 

Littering is an ongoing problem faced by wildlife on a daily basis. We as humans often discard our trash without a second thought. We wrongly assume that someone else will take care of it. We throw trash out of our car windows, simply because we don't want our cars littered with trash. For some reason we prefer it laying along the highways, roadways, walking trails and other natural areas. Why can we not take the trash home with us and dispose of it properly? Why can we not pull into the nearest gas station and dispose of it in the trash bin? Do we really need to throw it out for all the World to see? I don't know about you but there is nothing I hate worse than hiking a beautiful trail, only to have it disturbed by fast food packages, pop or beer cans, bottles, plastic bags, etc. 

There are many stories that abound of animals that have been in similar situations including the one here Common Snapper trapped by six pack ring 

In Missouri we have an ambassador of trash by the name of Peanut. Peanut's story can be read here Peanut the Turtle

If you plan to be outside this spring, summer and fall, if you pack it in, please remember to pack it out. Our wildlife will thank you.


  1. What a beautiful thing you did. Your post filled me with hope AND reminded me to pick up bits of litter that I come across to prevent things like this from happening--I'm going to pass this story along.

  2. It's so important! When people go hiking, it only takes a little while to pack a trash bag with them and pick up trash as they go. It makes a world of difference. I try to have my kids pick up trash when we hike. Imagine if everyone did it.

  3. This is a GREAT example of why even 1 small ring of PVC left at a construction site overnight can have LONG lasting and devastating effects upon wildlife. Ow...... eef. Thank you for sharing and reinforcing the fact that this is not trivial! (this will bolster my recommendations in biological assessments etc. I write) xo

  4. I CERTAINLY hope that Joey was rewarded for his courage and bravery with plentiful rehydration fluids!!!

  5. Great job with the snake! I am always amazed to find beer cans and rings littered about in natural areas. If they don't appreciate the area, why bother to visit at all?

  6. Szegény teknősök,elképesztő az emberi felelőtlenség.
    Happy Easter.

  7. Kertem tavában van egy teknős már három éve él nálam nagyon kedves állat.
    (mocsári teknős)

  8. So sad! I'm glad you fixed him and I hope he recovers.

    I just found your blog while looking for a bug my cat killed in the house today. I believe it's a red headed ash borer.

    Anyway, a black snake ran into my garage the other day, into the insulation. I am worried that he'll die in there since it's getting so hot. I wonder if he could find a way out? I'm also scared I'll see him again, as I'm not too fond of snakes, bugs, etc.

    You and your husband are very brave for saving this snake.

  9. omg really how did these things get around them at first

  10. The black snake slithered through the piece of PVC, that was left behind by a plumber we had hired to work on some pipes under our house, when it was small. It managed to make it part way through the piece of plastic, but it became stuck. Once it was stuck it had to wear this piece of unsightly jewelry until we happened upon it and freed it.