Here is the letter I wrote in response...
I have to write and voice my displeasure with the atricle "Psssssst! Snake Alert". While the article did present predominantly factual information in a professional and unbiased manner, I have to question the underlying purpose of the article. The article is based on the report of one unidentified man which thought it might have been a puff adder, and subsequent sightings of what was believed to be the same animal. No where has the animal been positively identified and as such is simply unqualified speculation. In essence this article is nothing more than sensationalism and gossip.
For the sake of the residents of the area I feel it is in the best interest to expand and clarify the information presented in the article. For this purpose alone I hope you print this letter or a follow up article.
"The puff adder, common in Africa and parts of the Mideast, is a venomous viper, but is commonly mistaken for North America's less dangerous Eastern hognose snake." "One man who found the snake coiled in his stairwell said it was aggressive and flattened its head when approached, a characteristic of the puff adder."
While in essence this is correct, it is not entirely accurate. As the two species do have similar markings and behaviours, it is reasonable that the two could be confused, but this is not a common misconception as each exist on completely separate continents. In addition the Eastern Hognose snake is infact a completely harmless, indiginous inhabitant of the South Huron area which also displays a flattening of the head and neck in a defensive posture. A simple internet search for 'Eastern Hognose snake images' will demonstrate this many times over. Although it is remotely possible that the snake is an escaped exotic species of viper, it is infinatley more probable that it is merely a local denizen looking for a meal. People should be reminded however, that no one should ever pick up a snake without a full and knowledgeable identification of the animal, nor any other wild animal for that matter.
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Last edited by Gary D.; 07-28-04 at 01:20 PM..