I know I come across as a bleeding-heart liberal snowflake, and that’s because that’s what I am! Just kidding, being raised in Mississippi has toughened me up to a lot of things that would otherwise traumatize me. I actually wrote a whole PRO-HUNTING paper, for real. My caveat was that, in order for hunting to be morally justifiable, killing a particular animal must serve a beneficial role in the wider ecosystem by keeping its species population in check in a way no other method could. I know it’s turkey season and that spring and summer bring out many of our nonhuman friends in abundance, so I thought I’d make a quick post about which animals are crucial to the maintenance of our ecosystems!
- SNAKES. ANY OF THEM.
- Snakes are absolutely crucial to the maintenance of vermin populations. Depending on the species, they eat rats, slugs, and even other snakes. They are also very shy creatures that will leave you alone if you leave them alone. Period.
- In the entirety of Mississippi, we have merely SIX (really four now that we’ve killed all the coral snakes and another one I can’t remember) venomous species among fifty nonvenomous ones. Nearly all of those venomous snakes — three of which are rattlesnakes — have ways of warning you before they’re going to bite. There are also species of nonvenomous snakes that have evolved to mimic venomous snakes almost exactly — Coral snakes v. Scarlet Kingsnakes, Mississippi Watersnakes v. Water Moccasins — so you are likely not certain to be killing a venomous snake even if you think you are. I’ve often heard that “cottonmouths are aggressive,” but they’re actually some of the most shy snakes that are most likely to dry-bite, or not inject you with venom, the first time. It’s usually the Mississippi Green Watersnake that will act like it’s so vicious and scary because its whole defense mechanism is acting like it is venomous when it’s not.
- Over 75% of venomous snakebites occur when trying to kill or harass a snake. For your own safety and the safety of those around you, simply back up slowly and walk away. I know people love the “it was about to get my dog” excuse, but that’s when you get your dog away. The snake isn’t going to jump up and chase you. I promise.
- Especially don’t kill Kingsnakes, like our Speckled friend who is black with white dots all over him. He kills venomous snakes all by himself! Huzzah!
- The best way to keep snakes off your property is to mow your yard, not leave logs and stuff stacked, and keep it generally clean.
- I know that we kinda thought coronavirus was coming from bats, but they too play an integral role in pest control. With the number of mosquitoes we have waiting to assault you the moment you step foot outside, how could you kill a lil flying mammal that is a mosquito-eating machine? Plus their guano is very effective fertilizer. Fun!
- Toads and frogs
- I know we seem to have toads out the wazoo, but they also…guess what…eat pests! They’re big slug guys. Slimy frogs, like tree frogs, are also great indicators of water quality in certain areas. By measuring their population over the years, scientists can better pinpoint areas of concern or places they need to step in. We need water believe it or not, so that’s pretty huge.
- Duh. I feel like I don’t even have to say anything about this one, but we all know that they’re basically going extinct and that we desperately need them as nature’s Number One Pollinators. They’re responsible for so many pretty flowers 🙂 and other stuff 🙂 Plus they too can indicate toxicity, but their expertise is air quality. They can pick up on toxic chemicals, so if we ever end up in chemical warfare…the bees will know before we do. Plus honey is tight.
- This one is really important to me after playing Charlotte in our third grade production of Charlotte’s Web, which we all know was the peak of my career, so don’t even try me when it comes to spiders. They really are great lil guys though, and they’ll get rid of your flies and roaches and other weird bugs in the most bada** way of any natural predator. They can create silk out of their butts, make a freaking web, catch something, wrap it up, VOMIT DIGESTIVE JUICES on it and suck its blood. Maybe I’ll write my own version of Twilight where a Brown Recluse falls in love with an angsty high schooler or something. Who knows! Next time you see one, just put it on a piece of paper and put it back outside where it belongs 🙂 or don’t literally nothing I say is going to change a single thing \
- I can literally feel everybody stop reading at this one, but for real hear me out. Ants are super good for soil aeration, help pollinate stuff, get rid of waste, etc. If you want to evict some ants from your yard in a non-toxic way, you can either stuff a clove of garlic the antbed or use Borax and sugar and sprinkle it on that bad boy. Then they can keep doing their cool ant things elsewhere.
- Just don’t do it. If you don’t know why earthworms are important, just look it up. They provide so many benefits I can’t even get started.
Well, there ya have it, folks! Not my usual vibe, but I didn’t want to post anything depressing today. Animals do all sorts of favors for us that we don’t even know about, and keeping them around is essential to the health of our ecosystem! The biotic community is the life-sustaining system without which none of us could survive, so it’s our job to protect it as much as we can. I know many use pesticide and even more use herbicide in/around their homes, but toxic chemicals are toxic chemicals period. Pesticide can wreak havoc on your pets’ health and be detrimental to yours. I have a lot of natural remedies for bugs and such if you’re even looking into it!
Please let me know if you have any ideas about topics for me! I have two ways you can anonymously say anything you want to me, and my DMs are always ready to be slid into. I just wrote a whole essay on frogs and ants, so you can see that I’m really doing my best to procrastinate here and would love your help in furthering those efforts! Love to all!