Some more politicians killing snakes

Discussion in 'Reptile News' started by RoryBreaker, Mar 28, 2019.

  1. Sdaji

    Sdaji Almost Legendary

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2004
    Messages:
    7,408
    Likes Received:
    705
    Location:
    Victoria
    Unless it happens, which it won't, it's hypothetical and thus we can't prove it, but as a qualified ecologist I have no doubt there would be a fairly minimal ecological impact. This doesn't for a moment mean I want it to happen or I would encourage it. I like snakes for their own sake. If they vanished I'd think it was a great shame, not because the world would end, but because those snakes would be gone. For everyone else however, it would probably be considered a good thing. Without any reasonable doubt, we could wipe out a lot of the most deadly snakes and their niches would then be filled by less venomous snakes. This definitely would have virtually no impact on the ecosystem. Again, I don't want it to happen, but if we were to be honest with the general public they would want to take this option.

    Anyway, in reality, if we all did our best to kill as many snakes as we could (as opposed to the current situation where only most people do that, which is pretty much exactly the same thing) we'd still be unable to wipe them out. That's why they haven't already been wiped out. Snakes are pretty difficult to find in the wilderness (or even in urban situations) so while a lot of individuals get shovelled, as species, direct human attacks post basically no danger in almost all cases.
    --- Automatic Post Merged, Mar 31, 2019, Original Post Date: Mar 31, 2019 ---
    This myth is even more incorrect than it is common. They're not usually top end predators, especially in Australia. They're always predators, but rarely top end. But either way, they don't play an important role in controlling rodents. It wouldn't cause some crazy domino effect, it would just cause a very minor increase in alternative predator numbers (snakes aren't the only things which eat frogs, rodents, etc, and if you take away snakes, the reduced competition simply allows the other predators to increase in numbers and the system is in balance).

    Laymen often believe the myth you are talking about, but actual ecologists understand that while introducing new species is sometimes catastrophic, taking away mid level members of the food web generally has little effect. Many studies have been done to show this, and I've been involved in such studies myself, including reptile examples in Australia.

    Incidentally, removing top end predators is the least impact of anything. The stuff at the top can be taken away without it doing much to what's below it. If you remove the foundation, that's what causes the biggest problems, but in the case of snakes in most cases, Australia being a good example, it just wouldn't do much.

    As you may know, snakes don't actually eat very much, so they aren't especially good vermin controllers. Things like owls/tawny frogmouths eat far more and are much better at it. Even feral pest species do far, far more for vermin rodent control than snakes.

    I know snake enthusiasts desperately *want* to believe the 'snakes are critical vermin controllers' myth, and that makes them repeat the story so many times they generally firmly believe it to be gospel, but in reality it's not true.
     
    Flaviemys purvisi likes this.
  2. Flaviemys purvisi

    Flaviemys purvisi Very Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2017
    Messages:
    2,198
    Likes Received:
    1,410
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    QLD
    ^^^ Also true.

    If Ants, flies and mosquitoes went extinct in Australia, the impact would be far more noticeable than if snakes vanished.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2019
  3. GBWhite

    GBWhite Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2013
    Messages:
    851
    Likes Received:
    1,145
    We'll just have to agree to disagree. There's plenty of scientific research available to contradict what you state.
     
  4. Yellowtail

    Yellowtail Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2017
    Messages:
    889
    Likes Received:
    2,120
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Gold Coast, Qld
    This thread has really become an epic.
    All I was trying to point out is that it is a shame that politicians and prominent members of the community are killing protected animals with shovels or other means and then boasting about it on social media.
    It would also be better if the herp community and particularly members of APS did not go to so much trouble trying to justify and even support this type of behaviour.
    Sdaji should take time out from his essays and read my post where I referred to the fact that no horses or people have ever died from a RBB bite, I was not including more dangerous species like browns in this statement although death of any large animal by snakebite in Australia is rare.
    I also pointed out that while there is evidence that the Thylacine was in decline before European settlement it was certainly not helped by ignorant farmers killing thousands of them, imagine the Tassie Devil with it's facial cancer problem also being shot and poisoned by the thousands at the same time.
     
  5. Sdaji

    Sdaji Almost Legendary

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2004
    Messages:
    7,408
    Likes Received:
    705
    Location:
    Victoria
    No, there's not. I challenge you to provide any. Simply saying it exists doesn't mean it does exist. A lot of people hear a myth enough times, assume it to be true, and assume that means there's scientific literature to back it up.

    Many people have very vivid imaginations. Tell me, how many scientific papers on this topic have you actually read? I wouldn't be surprised if the number was literally zero!
    --- Automatic Post Merged, Apr 1, 2019, Original Post Date: Apr 1, 2019 ---
    We can all probably agree on that.

    I didn't see anyone support the behaviour, however, if people lie and exaggerate when vilifying someone or something, people are going to be inspired to defend it to that extent. For example, if someone kills someone and you talk about it, everyone will probably agree. If you say they killed 5 people, you'll likely get people defending them, not because they like what happened to think the person is not guilty, they don't condone the actual murder, but you've actually inspired people who dislike what's happened to defend the person who did it, not from what they did, but from what you've accused them of.

    I'm so sorry my posts upset you to the point that you say I shouldn't be making them! Haha, nah, it's April 1, I'm not really sorry, I find it funny. Yellowtail should take note that I never said a horse was ever killed by a RBB, and consider that I said 'snakes do kill horses', which they do. You can make it a sticking point if you want, but it's peculiar behaviour from someone wanting 'Sdaji to stop posting' ;)

    Obviously being hunted didn't help, and neither did people eating tea and scones or the invention of trampoline 2 years before their extinction, but they weren't the cause either. The reality is that the disease wiped them out and would have even if no one had ever shot one. Hunting did not cause the extinction, it was incidental. You could have removed any of the other things impacting them (habitat destruction, introduced animals, etc), or you could eliminate every other one of them, but the disease would still have wiped them out. Even to this day there are large areas of Tasmania which are remote and not affected by habitat loss etc, but the Thylacines went extinct everywhere, including those areas. The disease wiped them out, all other issues were incidental. By saying it was hunting, you are being incorrect. There were no shortage of reports from people shooting them that the Thylacines being shot were looking weak and diseased, which made them easy to shoot. They were going to die whether or not they were shot. But the majority of them didn't get shot, they died of disease in remote wilderness without ever coming near a gun.
     
    Flaviemys purvisi likes this.

Share This Page