Most people didn’t know it, but July 16 was World Snake Day — a day devoted to awareness of these amazing animals and all they do for us as a vital part of a healthy environment. As mid-level predators, snakes consume vermin and other pests, and in turn, birds and other animals consume them.

Utah is home to 31 species of snakes. If you are fortunate enough to meet one of Utah’s lovely serpents in your travels, remember that while some other species use venom to subdue their prey, only rattlesnakes are potentially dangerous to humans. Snakes don't attack or chase people and they don't want to bite us. What people often misinterpret as aggression is really just a snake defending itself.

Because there are no copperheads, cottonmouths or coral snakes in Utah, any Utah snake that doesn’t have a rattle is harmless to humans. Actually, all snakes are harmless if you leave them alone.

If you meet a snake, give him the respect he deserves. After all, the only good snake is a live snake.

David Jensen